David

Primary Creator
Sculptor Michelangelo Buonarotti
Contributor(s)
Properties
Era1500s
Height162 inches
StyleRenaissance
Name of WorkDavid
Production Date1504
Production LocationFlorence, Italy
Current LocationFlorence, Italy
General Notes

Reported that this was a flawed stone, and that the artist managed to work around the flaw and create the composition in that context.

Description

A larger-than life figure of a nude, mature, but youngish man. He is standing with a slightly wide stance looking off to his side at some unknown person or event, and is holding something up to his shoulder with his left hand. His right hand is falling on his side, and has something small in its grip. The body is perfectly formed manhood.

Theme

[requires assumption of some context of this work -- not a "cold" introduction to it]: A man able to face a daunting task, with tremulous calm and determination. This is the depiction of the David/Goliath story of the Bible in which David takes on the much more formidable Goliath and wins.

Emotional Sum or Sense-of-life

Man is a strong, indomitable creature who has the intelligence to overcome terrible odds.

Context Information

Not integrated into any specific site, or building or environment. Whether intended or not, this adds to the character of the work as "standing alone and strong against all odds".

Scale

Survey

Discussion: David

Having just seen two major Hellenistic exhibitions in the U.S. (NY and DC) which exhibit examples of monumental Greek sculpture -- full human figures which are around 10 ft tall -- reminds me of Michelangelo's connection to this greatest of periods of sculpture in human history. While the monumental works are stunning, they are much less powerful than "The David". Such monumental statues are commonly a depiction of a female god, usually clothed in flowing Greek dress, with a rigidity in pose that lacks emotion. The facial characteristics also tend to be nondescript, so that these statues lack individuality and richness of feeling. Here in "The David" one has so much more. Not only is he naked, and perfect as a man could be, but he is emotional, he is transfixed by something of great concern to him, and he looks ready to act. It takes monumental sculpture to a level it never had been before and never has been since. No wonder it has such an emotional "hit" on so many people who see it. However what I say above is not at all universal -- it is instructive to read my article titled "Objectivity and Subjectivity in Art", at www.esthetics.cc, in which I use the David as one example of how various people can misconstrue, misunderstand, misread a great work of art.