Yes, it has been a long hiatus, since I wrote here.
What better way to begin writing, than by penning down my admiration for Michelangelo’s David at Florence. The man, I could not take my eyes off! No trip to Florence can be complete, without saying hello to this masterpiece by Michelangelo. In-spite of having seen many a picture of David online and in print, when I actually did see him in reality, ‘he’ was a ‘huge’ surprise. One literally looks up to David in awe!
The sheer size of it; at about 14 feet, one has to crane the neck up to admire this stellar Renaissance masterpiece, created between 1501 and 1504. Guess, how old Michelangelo was, when he sculpted David? Just 26. Made from white Carrara-marble ( Carrara is a region in Italy, where even now high-quality-marble is mined), the Biblical hero David, looks almost real. Yes, real! It is thanks to the details of his body so exquisitely crafted; one can see the veins on his hands and legs and the details of his muscled body. David’s facial expression is calm yet forceful and intense.
Unlike other depictions of David (where he has been portrayed after his victory, triumphant over the slain Goliath), Michelangelo has depicted him prior to the confrontation; a first of its kind.
David, one notices is not standing straight, but slightly sideways; in a classical pose which is known as contrapposto; wherein the weight of the whole body is practically on one leg, with the other leg slightly forward. Just imagine the genius of Michelangelo…he successfully carved this out of a single block of white-marble, without it toppling over.
As per legend, Michelangelo carved this in secrecy; he wanted to surprise his patrons. And yes surprise he did with his creation. The 14 foot tall David was considered far too large and yes, beautiful and perfect to be placed up in the Cathedral of Florence( where it was initially meant for the niches high up).
Place the gorgeous man where?
It was decided post a lot of rumination, that the statue of David be placed at Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the political heart of Florence, then. David stood there, in all his intense splendor for very many years, and then to prevent the wear and tear by the weather, he was shifted to the safe confines of the Academia in 1873.
Not 1 but 2 Davids in Florence!
Ha! Ha! That is true. But the original one, crafted by Michelangelo, there is only one, which is placed in the Academia. The statute of David, which now stands in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is a replica of the original; a tribute to David’s original place.
Huge hands & head .. ?
When one sees David from close quarters at the Academia, one notices that his hands particularly look very big compared to the rest of the body. For that matter his head too looks very prominent. Well, there is a reason for that. David, remember was meant to be placed high on top of the Cathedral of Florence…and not really so close up. So in order that people would be able to see David clearly in all his splendor, master sculptor Michelangelo, made his hands and head larger 🙂
David truly is beautiful. One could spend hours watching, this beautiful creation. I did spend quite a bit of time soaking in his beauty and marveling at Michelangelo’s exquisite detailing of the human form.
No one could have written a better tribute for Michelangelo’s David than Giorgio Vasari, the 16th century artist, architect and writer, considered by many as the world’s first art-historian.
…When all was finished, it cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; no other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelagnolo finish it