The Conquering David
If there can be such beauty and structure of one man, it can be marveled at through the figure of David. Destined to be the king of Israel, David armed with weapons and wit creates a brave yet intellectual spirit as he defeats the Philistine giant, Goliath. With such a powerful presence as David, it is easy to see how three talented artists could portray a strong and intelligent man in a very different but still successful manner. Michelangelo, Donatello, and Verrocchio all had the same idea of the power that David represented though they all had an obviously different vision of how that power was displayed. Through youth, expression, and composition the artists all manage to capture the courage of David.
In Donatello’s figure of David there is a youthful, adolescent, and barely developed young boy. Donatello manages to combine classicism with realism by presenting a real image of an Italian peasant boy in the form of a classical nude. Instead of a Greek youth David is shown as a little boy with a lack of muscle. It must have been through intellect and courage that the young David defeated the mighty Goliath, whose head lie beside the feet of the conqueror. With his sword at rest on his side it almost seems too heavy for him to handle. David seems somewhat astonished as he looks down upon his body and at the head of Goliath yet at the same time has a surprised confidence.
Verrocchio’s sculpture of David has a strong contrast to that of Donatello’s even though they use the same heroic figure. Both artists portray David as an adolescent, but
Verrocchio uses a more confident character of David who “appears somewhat older and exclusive with pride and self-confidence rather than a dreamy gaze of disbelief”. (I) As one of the most important sculptors of the mid-fifteenth century, Verrocchio used realism in very minute details and in contrast Donatello used idealistic and realistic elements to define David. Although the two artists use some similar features in their sculptures, such as a some-what close time period, similar size, and same material of bronze; their technique differs greatly causing a different attitude in the figure. Donatello arranges David as a mainly closed-form sculpture with objects and limbs centered on a S-curve stance showing balance. In Verrocchio’s depiction there is more openness as the sword and elbow stick out away from the central axis. “Donatello’s graceful pose had been replaced in the Verrocchio, by a jaunty contrapposto that enhances David’s image of self-confidence”. (II)
In more of a classical antiquity, Michelangelo, a highly respected architect, sculptor, painter,...