Looking at Art

Monday: Let’s Look at Art…..sculpture of David

Monday: Let’s Look at Art

Unfortunately, Monday’s post is a day late…..but here we go…..I thought for our first Monday’s look at art that we might look at some sculpture. Sculptures are an under studies and under utilized study of art. I love sculpture. I love the different uses of materials suck as marble and stone. It is amazing to see the level of complexity and details that the artist is able to create.


Michelangelo, David

Let’s look at Michelangelo’s David

Let’s discuss one of the most iconic sculptures of all time…..Michelangelo’s David.

Made out of 1 piece of white marble from the quarries in Carrara in Tuscany.

The sling and trunk were initially covered in gold leaf which was washed away by being outside exposed to the elements.

David was part of the biblical story of David and Goliath found in Book 1 of Samuel. Stones are clutched in one hand and a slingshot in the other


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David


However, what most people are unaware of is the history of the sculpture. Michelangelo finished this famous sculpture 37 years after it was started. It was started by Agostino di Duccio in 1464. No one knows why he stopped two years later. Another artist worked on it briefly then the marble remained untouched for 25 years. Michelangelo started working on it in 1501. The finished piece of work weighed 6 tons and was 14 feet tall and was unable to be used for its initial purpose (designed to decorate the buttresses for Florence’s cathedral, the Duomo). So instead, it was put on display in front of the town hall, Palazzo Vecchio. In 1873, it was moved to Accademia Gallery and a replica was put in its place.

Close up of David's head


Look at the level of detail in the curls of the hair as well as on the carved ear. Also the eyes and eyebrows. His face shows intense concentration.

Also note the pulsing veins in David’s hands.

Another topic often discussed by art critics is the size of his hands and head compared to the rest of his body (disproportionately large for the scale of the body).

All of David’s weight is on his right leg while his left leg is at rest which creates an interesting stance (changing the angle of his hips).


On a couple of occasions the sculpture was damaged. Once on April 26th, 1527 after the expulsion of the Medici from Florence. Rioters threw stones, tiles, and a bench at the David which broke his left arm into 3 pieces. It is also believed on that day that some other damage occurred…..in particular a split on the slingshot, the loss of some of the tips of his curly hair, and a small rupture along the lower lid of his right eye.

More recently, in 1991 a deranged man destroyed part of David’s left foot with a hammer. It was promptly rebuilt.


Sources:

Famous Sculptures of all Time

Accademia Gallery

Facts about David

Italian Renaissance

Museums in Florence

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