All About Michelangelo's David
Considered among the most beautiful scultures ever seen by humanity, Michelangelo's David is one of the greatest sculture of all time. Like all precious and important things also David has a special history, let's discover it together.
In July of 1501 Michelangelo was recalled to Florence for a commission of the Opera del Duomo. He was asked to work on a statue of grandiose proportions, a David, who was to be carved from a large block of marble lying abandoned in the courtyard of the Opera del Duomo.This block of white Carrara marble had been entrusted to two sculptors, Agostino di Duccio in 1464 and Antonio Rossellino in 1475, but both had abandoned the project due to numerous imperfections of the material, which would have risked jeopardizing the static of a work of exceptional size.
At that time Michelangelo was only 26 years old, but he had already become the most famous and highly paid artist of the time thanks to the beauty carved in the Vatican Pietà. The young Michelangelo accepted the challenge and for three years, from 1501 to 1504, he worked tirelessly to the realization of David.
The Opera del Duomo had established religious subjects for the statue, but no one anticipated such an interpretation by the artist. In the Book of Samuel in the Bible it is in fact narrated the story of the shepherd boy David facing the fearsome giant heads of the Philistines, Goliath.The jew king Saul offered his armor to the boy, but he got rid of, because it was too big for his slight stature. So, armed only with slingshot, David faced the giant hitting him in the head with a rock and then beheading him. Michelangelo portrayed David just before tackling the giant, with the figure in tension, contract muscles and the concentration in the eye. The body, the powerful muscles, seems ready to move, to throw against Goliath. Michelangelo chose to represent David also completely naked, armed only with his faith in God, reason and intellect, and sling and stone.
The statue was undoubtedly inspired by the aesthetic of classical culture, but it also embodies the Renaissance man, with his morality and rationality, protagonist of history and aware of his capabilities. The facial expression indicates the moral force of character and the superiority of human reason on the brute and irrational force. David is thinking, before attacking his enemy.
The statue, with its 4.10 meters and five tons, was unveiled to the Committee of the Opera del Duomo and to the standard bearer of the Florentine Republic, Pier Soderini in 1504, immediately causing surprise for his magnificence. After a long debate, for Michelangelo's David was chosen a place of absolute prestige in front of the Palazzo della Signoria, where it came through a difficult and daring transport through the city streets.
"The Giant" passed under the astonished eyes of the Florentines through the streets of the city centre to Piazza Signoria on May 14, 1504 at midnight with more than forty men to carry it, and it arrived four days later.
Choosing to have the statue in Piazza della Signoria immediately made David a symbol of freedom against the powerful enemies of the time. It became a mouthpiece of values as pride, courage and virtue of the Florentine Republic.
But it was not finished yet. Michelangelo continued to work to the finishing of David during the summer, and it was finally inaugurated on September 8, 1504 in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, where he remained until July 1873, when it was decided to move the work in the Galleria dell'Accademia to avoid damages due to weatherability.Today in Piazza della Signoria we can find a copy.