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Did Michelangelo Sculpt David? | The Statue of David

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The statue of David was carved from a single piece of marble. Interestingly, this piece of marble had been purchased twice before Michelangelo, by artists who either couldn’t or wouldn’t process the block of stone. Therefore, a lot of people were asking themselves if Michelangelo sculpt David. And the right answer can be found below.

Michelangelo is one of the most famous geniuses in the history of art, and his iconic creation and sculpture – the statue of David, King of the Israelites – is probably the most famous sculpture in the world. It’s an incredible work that everyone recognises and knows something about. However, it is only when you look at the statue up close that the skill and patience with which Michelangelo created this masterpiece becomes apparent.

David’s name has been translated into biblical Latin as “fortis manu, sive desiderabilis”, where “fortis manu” means “strong hand”. Perhaps for this reason, David‘s right hand is not proportional to the rest of his body.

How tall is the statue of David?

Originally, the statue of David was to be placed on the roof of the cathedral dome in Florence. However, because the work astonished everyone with its beauty, the plan was abandoned so that the sculpture could be appreciated by anyone up close.

The statue of David is five metres high and weighs 5,572 kg. David towers above us, which is very significant considering that in the story of David and Goliath, David is seen as the weak one.

The marble material sat abandoned for 25 years before Michelangelo began working on it for two years when he was 29. 

Was David left-handed?

Michelangelo is said to have based his image of David on typical representations of the god Hercules, who was considered an important figure in Renaissance Florence.

Since he holds his sling in his left hand, many people think David is left-handed. However, others argue that the future king’s body position shows that he is, in fact, right-handed.

Even the Grand Duke of Tuscany made a copy of the statue of David for Queen Victoria, and the British sovereign was so offended by the nudity that she ordered the statue’s nakedness to be covered with a modest fig leaf.

How is the statue of David presented?

Every year, eight million people visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, the home of the statue of David. Unfortunately, the footsteps of these curious onlookers lead David to destruction, as they cause vibrations that crack the marble. For this reason, the statue is frequently restored.

On his left shoulder in the statue, David holds a sling, and in his right hand he holds a stone. With these rudimentary weapons, David is poised to attack the Philistines’ giant champion, Goliath, before whom he will emerge victorious in his first significant act before becoming Israel’s most famous king.

Every year, eight million people visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to the statue of David. Unfortunately, the footsteps of these onlookers lead David to destruction, as they cause vibrations that crack the marble. For this reason, the statue is frequently restored.

Michelangelo Sculpt David

When did Michelangelo sign the contract to make the sculpture of David?

On July 2, 1501, the people in charge of the Opera del Duomo, who were in charge of supervising the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, found a thin piece of stone “lying on its back” in the courtyard. They erect the block, then start looking for a sculptor. It’s a tough job, what craftsman sets out to fix something that someone has broken? Andrea Sansovino is the one. He’s brought in front of the marble, but gets lost. A failure before it begins! Is there really no one in the world who knows?

On August 16, 1501, Michelangelo is called to sign the contract to begin sculpting David. An important bank in Florence is a sponsor, the only request is that the work is finished. On 13 September 1501, Michelangelo picks up his hammer and sets to work.

He will give life to David, the biblical hero. “The greatness of the virile nude”, as he was to be called. He brings him to life just before the mythical battle against Goliath, which is why he will appear with a slingshot. The block of stone is chipped away by its predecessors, but the artist is too great. He takes to his advantage the gap he found between his right arm and his torso, disproportionates his hands, emphasises David’s gesture.

When did Michelangelo sculpt the statue of David?

The Florentines don’t know what to think. It’s been almost 40 years since the “masters” have been working to carve the piece of stone quarried in Carrara. The cathedral of Santa Maria de Fiore was due to receive a statue of a prophet some time ago. Something gigantic, majestic.

For 40 years, many sculptors have been carving stone. They couldn’t give it a face, so they carved it. On 13 September 1501, Michelangelo, one of the finest hands mankind has ever produced, set to work on sculpt David. In three years he gives life to David, the biblical hero. The 4.34-metre marble is considered one of the most beautiful works of art of all time.

By 1463, Agostino di Duccio, a sculptor with a CV, was hard at work. Three wasted years. Antonio Rossellino had then moved on to commission. He messed up even worse. “The block wasn’t compact enough, it had too many veins,” he defended himself before the abandonment. He had made 1500 and, in vain, but thanks to Michelangelo, the bright genius.

Primary Takeaways

  • Michelangelo believes and says loud and clear that every piece of marble has life, he wants to show the soul inside. He works for three years. Until 1504, the year of Stephen the King’s death, when the 4.34-metre work is finished (5.17 metres with plinth, 5572 kilos). Donatello’s “Judith” is banished from the front of the Palazzo Vecchio and, on 8 September, “David” takes its place.
  • Michelangelo Sculpt David and begins his story. Immediately, the partisans of the Medici family stone him. In 1512 lightning strikes his plinth. In 1527, the same family’s supporters break his left arm. In 1843, he is washed with hydrochloric acid. The protective glow left by Michelangelo disappears and the statue becomes totally exposed to the elements.
  • In 1873 the decision is taken to move the sculpture indoors to the Academy Gallery. During the Second World War, just in case, it is covered in brick. In 1991, a madman, Piero Cannata, came with a hammer and broke a finger.

Conclusion

An emblem of the Italian Renaissance, David, sculpted by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504 in a single piece of Carrara marble, depicts the biblical hero as he prepares to face Goliath with a sling.

The sculpture has been shaken by the more than 250 earthquakes that have occurred in the last three days in the Florence region. The authorities have announced that they will provide emergency funds to have the work reinforced.