I spent some time in Florence earlier this month learning about Renaissance art and I can’t think of a better place to do that! I have just one word to say about the subject…David.
He stands atop the hill overlooking the city, next to the town hall, and in one of the major museums. And that is just Michelangelo’s David (commonly referred to as the David); but don’t forget about the two by Donatello or the one by Verrocchio – they created wonderful David sculptures as well.
Just what is it about David that is so attractive to Florentines? Most likely idea is the concept of the little guy against the big giant – David vs. Goliath…Florence vs. other city-states.
David was sculpted from one very large piece of marble that lay around the Cathedral shop floor for more than 25 years, ironically called ‘the giant’ by the people who worked there. It took Michelangelo two years to bring his David from this giant.
Michelangelo’s David is different from the other two – besides his massive size (at 17 feet tall, he towers over the other Davids). But he represents something different – the others show David after he slays the giant; Michelangelo shows David in the moments before – can’t you feel the suspense as David watches Goliath, stone in his hand, sizing him up and forging his plan of attack? As David stands there before the Florentines, they sense David is sizing up the competition in the other city-states and formulating his plan of attack.
After seeing the other Davids, I finally got to see the real thing towards the end of my week in Florence. I had seen some great art throughout the week, but I was not expecting to be in awe of this statue. But I was. It was breathtaking – the skill level of Michelangelo was obvious from down the hall. After seeing the real thing, somehow that garden size replica I’d been eyeing just doesn’t appeal anymore!
Oh, David – a Renaissance masterpiece of a sculpture by a Renaissance master sculptor in the master of Renaissance cities!
(Photo credits go to my fellow classmate, Lissa, a braver woman than I with her camera!)