1. The Statue of David
One of Michelangelo’s many masterpieces, this sculpture earns the top position on most people’s list of the most famous sculptures of all time. What’s more amazing is that he sculpted it from a piece of marble that was actually too thin for the project.
Perhaps the most famous statue in the world today is the Statue of David by Michelangelo.
In 1501 Michelangelo was commissioned to create the David by the Arte della Lana (Guild of Wool Merchant), who were responsible for the upkeep and the decoration of the Cathedral in Florence. For this purpose, he was given a block of marble which Agostino di Duccio had already attempted to fashion forty years previously, perhaps with the same subject in mind.
Michelangelo breaks away from the traditional way of representing David. He does not present us with the winner, the giant's head at his feet and the powerful sword in his hand. Rather, he portrays the youth as tense with a sense of gathering power immediately preceding the battle. Perhaps he has caught him just in the moment when he has heard that his people are hesitating, and he sees Goliath jeering and mocking them.
Michelangelo places him in the most perfect contraposto, as in the most beautiful Greek representations of heroes. The right-hand side of the statue is smooth and composed while the left-hand side, from the outstretched foot all the way up to the disheveled hair is openly active and dynamic. The muscles and the tendons are developed only to the point where they can still be interpreted as the perfect instrument for a strong will, and not to the point of becoming individual self-governing forms. Once the statue was completed, a committee of the highest ranking citizens and artists decided that it must be placed in the main square of the town, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Town Hall. It was the first time since antiquity that a large statue of a nude was to be exhibited in a public place. Strength and Wrath were the two most important virtues, characteristic of the ancient patron of the city Hercules. Both these qualities of passionate strength and wrath were embodied in the Statue of David.
Statue of David by Donatello
Donatello had an immense impact on Renaissance art and his statue of David was the first free standing nude statue in the Christian era.DAVID BY DONATELLO 11" HIGH SCULPTURE
As one of the greatest Florentine sculptors, Donatello invented the shallow relief technique. In the shallow relief technique the sculpture seems deep but is actually done on a very shallow plane. Greatly influenced by ancient Greek sculpture and Humanist theories, his statues display the human body as a functional organism where the human personality radiates a confidential individuality.
In this scuplture, Donatello does not have David admiring the head of his slain victim, but rather at his own graceful and powerful body. It’s as if the result of his heroic triumph, he has become aware of his body’s beauty and strength. This admiration of thy self is a dominant theme in Renaissance art.
Statue.com is proud to offer museum quality, imported replicas of these David statues made from bonded carrara marble as well as many other works from Michelangelo and Donatello. Click here to enter our Classical Gallery for the Donatello version of David.
You can also find busts from the Statue of David in our Bust Gallery
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