Interesting Facts About David Statue: A Famous Piece Of Renaissance Art

Few statues are as enduring and iconic as Michelangelo’s David or David Statue. But while much of the world could sketch this majestic masterpiece from memory, few know the quirks and curiosities that went into its creation.
Possibly one of the most famous pieces of Renaissance art, Michelangelo’s David attracts millions of visitors to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence (where it is housed) each year. It’s not hard to see why—displaying an acute attention to detail and master craftsmanship, this impeccable statue is considered by many to be among the ranks of the artist’s greatest works. While you wouldn’t think he has much to hide just by looking at him, the David is full of surprises.
Standing at a colossal 17 feet tall, the gleaming white statue of Michelangelo’s David, slingshot in hand ready to do battle, dominates Florence’s Piazza Della Signoria. It draws millions of tourists every year even though it’s just a copy.
The original, expertly chiseled by master Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, nestles safely in a purpose-made gallery of the nearby Accademia di Belle Arti museum. But it’s so much more than a mere statue. So, if you’re planning a trip to Florence, here are interesting facts you didn’t know about David Statue.
1. The statue was not originally meant to stand on the ground. Originally commissioned as a piece to adorn one of the exterior supports along the roofline of the Florence Cathedral, David only wound up where he is today at the hand of the committee who commissioned him.
In 1504, once the statue was complete, it was deemed too beautiful (and too heavy) to be installed so far out of the way in its intended place. After intense deliberation, a panel of 30 that included Leonardo DaVinci and Sandro Botticelli came to the conclusion that the statue should stand in Palazzo della Signoria—the center of Florentine government. It took four days and ten times as many men to move the six-ton statue here, where it would stay until 1873.
2. The statue represents David, who defeated the giant Biblical warrior Goliath. At first sight, Michelangelo’s masterpiece is a beautiful study of a male nude, but the statue also has a Biblical background; the legend of David and Goliath.
The Book of Samuel describes how a young shepherd boy named David stood up against a 9-foot tall warrior giant who had been terrorizing the army of Israel. Goliath the giant was armed with a huge sword and protected by full armor, but the boy faced him armed only with his staff, sling over his left shoulder and a pile of stones.
And despite the apparent difference in power and strength, David coolly felled the giant with a single shot to the forehead before beheading him. David has been a poster-boy for the underdog ever since although Michelangelo, ever one to push the boundaries, depicts him as a handsome, healthy young man rather than a skinny young shepherd boy, creating one of Italy’s most instantly recognizable and heroic works of art.
3. Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family.
The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.
4. The statue has been damaged at least twice. When David faced Goliath in the Biblical story, the boy came away unscathed but sadly Michelangelo’s David hasn’t been as lucky. The statue suffered a broken arm just 23 years after it was completed when a political activist threw a chair out of a window of the Palazzo Vecchio during a civil uprising in 1527, breaking David’s left arm in three places.
David then survived the next 400 years intact, escaping World War II undamaged despite Hitler’s desire to add it to his art collection and bombing of Florence. And fortunately, although a hammer-wielding vandal hacked a toe off in a rather brutal pedicure in 1991, the statue of Michelangelo’s David remains closely protected in his Accademia Gallery home so we can all enjoy his glory.

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