Michelangelo's Statue of David
The statue was sculpted from marble from the famous quarries in the Carrara region of the northern Italian Alps. The original slab came to Florence in 1464 for a larger biblical sculpture that involved 12 sculptures for the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. The work was begun by Donatello and his assistant, but they had only finished the legs when the project was abandoned due to the death of the old master. The project remained incomplete for 25 years, when it was awarded to 26 year old Michelangelo in 1501. He worked for three years until he finished it in September if 1504.
Michelangelo’s David now sits in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy where each year tens of thousands of visitors marvel at the artistic mastery of the hero. It is believed the statue is depicting David contemplating his battle with Goliath, and symbolizes the Florentine kingdom as it was threatened by hostile Italian city-states.
The statue of David, when viewed head on, seems out of proportion. The upper portions seem much larger than natural. But, when viewed from below, this perspective creates the illusion of proportion.
The marble that was used to create the statue was only mediocre and had unusually large pores. The many years it spent outside caused the stone to weather, even before Michelangelo presented the figure. The block also contains a cleverly hidden fissure through the middle, and is thought to be relatively inexpensive given the effort required to quarry and transport such a massive piece.
There are many replicas of this famous statue that exists worldwide, including one that was erected in 1910 on the original site. There are also models made of cast stone and bronze that exist in places like India, England, the United States, and Australia. David is thought to be one of Michelangelo’s greatest sculptures, and is, by far, one of the most famous statues in the world. In 1991, a man attacked the statue with a hammer, this was repaired, but it gave scientists the rare opportunity to determine exactly where the marble came from.