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David of Michelangelo

By December 12, 2011January 29th, 2021No Comments
David of Michelangelo, created from 1501 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and, together with Pieta, one of the two most important sculptures by Michael Angelos. It is one of the most famous statues in the history of sculpture, and has become a symbol of strength and youthful beauty. He plays the Biblical King David, the moment he decides to confront Goliath. In his day he was considered a symbol of the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened by more powerful rival states. This interpretation was also emphasized by the placement of the 5.17 meter high statue outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of the local government of Florence. His unveiling took place on September 8, 1504. History The story of David is much older than 1501, the year that Michael Angelos began working on the project, and begins around 1460. At that time the supervisors of the works in the Cathedral of Florence (the Operai), which in the majority They belonged to the important caste of wool merchants of the city, they planned to commission the construction of twelve large statues of Old Testament figures that would be placed on the pedestals of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Until then, only two had been built, independently, by Donatello and his assistant Agostino di Ducio. Wanting the idea to move forward, in 1464 they again asked Di Ducio to create a statue of David. He started the sculpture, but stopped working for unknown reasons when Donatello died in 1466. He only proceeded to form the legs and chest of the figure, some details of the garment that would bring and possibly the gap between the legs. Antonio Rossellino undertook to continue from where Di Ducio had stopped. His contract was canceled shortly afterwards, and the marble from a quarry in Carrara in northern Italy was abandoned for twenty-five years, exposed to the elements in the courtyard of the cathedral. The rain and wind tore it down so that it would eventually take up less space than originally planned. The whole issue ended up seriously worrying the project managers, as such a large piece of marble on the one hand was very expensive, on the other hand it would be very difficult and laborious to transport it to Florence. In 1500, a list of items in the workshop described it as “a marble figure named David, badly spoken and lying on his back.” A year later, documents show that Operai was determined to find an artist who could finish the work. They ordered that the marble, called The Giant, be “set on its feet” so that a specialist artist could examine it and express an opinion. Although they turned to Leonardo da Vinci and others, it was the young Michael Angelos, then only twenty-six years old, who convinced them that he deserved the assignment. On August 16, 1501, he was officially assigned the demanding task. He started work early on the morning of September 13, and would continue for about three years. Copy in the place where the original once stood, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence On January 25, 1504, as the statue was nearing completion, a committee of Florentine artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, met to decide where David would be best placed. The majority, supported by Leonardo, believed that due to the imperfections of the marble, the statue should be placed under the roof of the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria. Only a few, including Botticelli, believed that his place was in or near the cathedral. Eventually, David was placed in front of the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, in Piazza della Signoria, replacing Judith and Donatello’s Holofernes. It took four days for the statue to move from Michelangelo’s workshop to its final location. The Florentines added a gold-plated wreath on his head and a bronze belt to hide his nakedness. At that time, the trunk that supports the figure was also gilded. To protect itself from damage, the statue was moved in 1873 to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, where it is still located today, attracting many visitors. A copy was placed in Piazza Signoria in 1910. In 1991 a vandal attacked the statue with a hammer, destroying his left toes before being arrested. The marble samples taken by scientists on the occasion of the incident showed that the marble came from the Fadiskritti quarries of Mizelia, the center of the three small Carrara valleys. This marble has tiny holes, which cause it to decompose faster.