Can anyone imagine the legendary Statue of David being nothing more than a rejected Marble block? We couldn’t believe it either!
Well, that appears to have been the case!
At the start of the 16th century, the Opera del Duomo—the committee of officers in the ornament and maintenance of the Florence cathedral—had an elaborate unfinished assignment on its palms.
A report from 1501 refers to a giant, barely begun statue, “a positive man of marble, named David, badly blocked out and laid on its base within the courtyard.”
In 1408, the committee decided to beautify the roofline across the cathedral’s dome with large statues of biblical prophets and mythological figures. The first, placed into the region inside the early 15th century, was the Statue of Joshua sculpted in terra-cotta and painted white to look like marble.
The next, Hercules’ statue, was sculpted by way of one of Donatello’s students, Agostino di Duccio.
A statue of David, the Biblical hero who slew the large Goliath, was ordered in 1464. This commission went to Agostino, and a large slab of marble was extracted from the Carrara quarries in Tuscany, Italy, for the challenge. Agostino abandoned the undertaking for unknown motives after a bit of work, which just included ordinarily roughing out around the legs.
Another sculptor, Antonio Rossellino, was hired to take over the challenge in 1476. However, his contract was terminated soon thereafter. Left without a sculptor and too steeply-priced to throw away, the massive slab of beautiful marble remained neglected for 26 years!
Don’t worry, it gets better!
In the summer of 1501, a new attempt was made to find a sculptor who could finish the statue. The 26 year old vintage sculptor/Inventor, Michelangelo, was chosen. Early within the morning on September 13th, 1501, the young artist got to work at the slab, extracting his vision of David in a beautiful method that the artist and writer Giorgio Vasari might later describe as “the bringing back to the life of one who becomes dead.”
In 1504, as Michelangelo completed his work, Florentine officers concluded that the statue had become too heavy to place in its supposed area on the cathedral’s roofline. A committee of artists, including Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, met and determined that the statue should be placed at the doorway to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. In 1873, it was moved into the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.
The statue’s aesthetic components may be related to the torturous process by which it was commissioned and created. Even though muscular, the build is slimmer than the bodybuilder-like physiques, which might be standard of Michelangelo’s different works.
The absence of David’s traditional accouterments, a sword and the severed head of Goliath, maybe due to the fact there wasn’t any room to carve them inside the block of marble!
Likewise, David’s disproportionately massive right hand and prominent facial features may also have been exaggerated to ensure that they may be visible to spectators on the floor.
Michaelangelo’s statue of David has been an outstanding example of the degree and levels of mankind’s natural affinity towards art. It’s appreciation and marvel today is only but a glimpse of man’s relation to marble and it’s incredible canvas.
Whew, Marble statues are really something aren’t they?
History, elegance and royalty!
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