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Michelangelo's Statue Of David Essay

1449 words - 6 pages

The statue of David, completed by Michelangelo in 1504, is an easily recognizable symbol to people not only in Florence, but from all around the world. The David has a special meaning for Florentines, and is a symbol of what the city strives to be; strong, courageous, and youthful. The sculpture tells the tale of the battle between David and Goliath. David, a young boy at the time, was angered at the way Goliath was treating the Israelis and stood up to the giant feat of taking on Goliath. With a simple slingshot and stone, he defeated the angry giant, and became a symbol of liberty. The story shows that anything can be done with the help of God. David is not only the most well-known sculpture in the world, but is housed in one of the most visited galleries in the world, the Galleria dell’Accademia. The David did not always stand high above the crowds filing through the Accademia, however, several other locations were considered and carried out for the statue. The David has a long history of where it was to be placed in the city of Florence, and this paper is going to explore the several locations of where the David was going to be placed, and why it ended up in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
When Michelangelo first started sculpting the David, he was given a piece of damaged marble to carry out his work with. This marble was commissioned to Agostino di Duccio by the wool manufacturers’ guild, but having given up, he left it abandoned in the courtyard of what is now the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. Another artist, Antonio Rossellino “attempted to complete the commission, but in 1477 he too gave up in defeat” (Partridge, 2009). The guild then passed on the challenge of sculpting the David out of this damaged marble to Michelangelo, and he succeeded. When the David was originally commissioned, “it was commissioned with the idea that it would stand in a niche on one of the cathedral’s tribunes, way up high” (KhanAcademy, 2012).1 Original contemporary records from the Deliberations of the Operai del Duomo, refer to this original placement of the David. Translated, the records read, “that a certain man of marble called David - such giant to be erected and raised upon high by the masters of said Opera - should stand upright, so that it may be considered by masters expert in such things if it can be fulfilled and finished” (Parks, 1975).2 However, once Michelangelo completed his work and revealed the statue to his patrons, the city government of Florence, they were astounded and decided that a piece of artwork that spectacular should not stand high above the city of Florence, as it would go unnoticed; it had to be seen up close and personal.
After deciding that the David would not take its intended position on one of the tribunes atop the roof line of the cathedral, “a parlamento of twenty-eight citizens versed in art was called to advise on the work’s placement” (Partridge, 2009). This group consisted of artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci,...

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