Slow Tuscany - travel stories of Tuscany

Tuscany according to Damiano Andreini - in your own time
Travelling towards...
Pisa Florence Lucca Siena Grosseto Arezzo Massa-Carrara 100% Tuscany Accommodation

Slow Tuscany

Travelling towards...








Pistoia & Prato


Tuscany - 100%


Slow Tuscany > Tuscany > Florence > Michelangelo's David
About Michelangelo's David...

Damiano Andreini

David of Florence
Florence, Piazza Signoria is wrapped by a cold November evening. I'm coming from the Cathedral and the first sight is on the whole square with its coffee bars and the palaces all around. Palazzo Vecchio dominates the scene, with its enormous embattled tower and the big open loggia on its side. Both the Palazzo and the loggia are enriched by several statues, each one with its own story, which would be undoubtedly worth a separate article; imperishable traces of a XVI century Florence, of the Italian Renaissance, of a town which has been contended for years between two fighting factions: on one hand, big and powerful families allied to establish the Republic; on the other hand, the most powerful family, the Medici family, rich bankers who were able to get the republic away (12th August 1230) and obtain the absolute control of the city and of the whole Tuscany for over two hundred years.

That is why so many statues present on this square: Palazzo Vecchio was - and is - the center of the city power and all the marbles were there in front of it to show the greatness of the rulers; never cutting out the past, never destroying its symbols, but rather adding grander stones simulacra each time the power was handed over. And that also explains why the very famous David by Michelangelo, despite originally commissioned in 1501 for a different destination, was immediately "taken" by the Florentine supporters of the republic, with the aim of celebrating the victory (a temporary one) against the Medici family. The biblical hero, therefore, was meant as the Republic; consequently, the Medici family, was assimilated to Goliath. Michelangelo was only 29 at that time, but his fame was already high as his experience, only think that five years before, during 1499, he had just completed the Pietà of Saint Peter.

Highly probable that he could have had a heart attack when he was given the gigantic block of marbles from Carrara for the new sculpture (it is over 4 meters high). In fact , the block had already been partially and badly worked - 50 years earlier - by a certain Agostino of Duccio, who later abandoned it. Nevertheless, Michelangelo accepted to sculpture on it. To be wrong in sculpturing this enormous block would have meant to throw the whole marble away or leave it as material for bricklayers; but the great genius of Michelangelo stands in fact in his own power: the ability to give the sculpture the appearance of a completed work immediately at his earliest touches.

The Michelangelo style was unique and unmistakable: with no mechanic tool except than his flat top sculptor, Michelangelo immediately set his sculpture "free" from the useless layers of stone, first on one side and then on the other, and at his first look to the block, as reported by many experts, he was able to "see" the already completed work at its inside. No other sculptor could ever work so bravely on a similar huge work.

We are told from the Bible (I Sam, 17) that the young shepherd David hit the giant Goliath, in the center of his forehead, with a stone thrown with his leather sling. Such moment has been represented as the main pregnant of the whole event and a lot of sculptors: Gian Lorenzo Bernini have chosen it as the most representative one. Not the same for Michelangelo, who instead chose the preceding moment, the one in which the biblical hero concentrates on his mission: the glance, likewise the thought, is further ahead and the veins are swollen for the tension. With one hand David keeps the sling close to his shoulders, while in the other hand nervous fingers keep the stone tightly.

A careful look to the statue, even at a distance, will provide the observer the expressive power of these particulars, which is purposely what Michelangelo wanted to supply to his work, already at the time of the shaping of the marble block; some parts of the body have been enlarged or reduced (hands, eyes and eyebrows, for example) so as to highlight some details rather than others. It is thanks to this visual hyperbolas that the icy determination of David is rather rendered highly expressive.

We could go more and more ahead in telling about this statue, but I decide to stop here, only adding that the original work is kept in the Accademia Gallery, but please ignore this information: the beauty of Piazza Signoria is something able to steal your breath and the David is practically the only copy among the other original statues!

Damiano Andreini
About me Itinerary Characters Events Art Flavours Proverbs
This work is protected by Copyzero Copyzero © Copyright Damiano Andreini. Any reproduction of part of whole of the text and photos is not permitted without the express permission of the author