David: Donatello, Verrocchio and Michelangelo

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David, living in the shadows of his brothers and continuously on the run from a resentful King Saul, he grew into popularity after exterminated Goliath, the enormous Philistine worrier. As story has it, David used his sling to kill the grotesque warrior by shooting a rock into his head. Even after becoming king, he was constantly in battle defending his kingdom. A men who was greatly devoted to God, yet committed adultery and was an absent father, was still referred to by God as “a man after his heart.” So what made Donatello, Verrocchio and Michelangelo immortalize him; was is it his strength or was it his great devotion to God?
Donatello’s first depiction of David was in 1408-1409 (early renaissance), commissioned by the Cathedral of Florence, who wanted to adorn the buttresses of the cathedral with statues of the twelve prophets. The sculpture was amongst Donatello’s earliest work. The David sculpted out of marble, stands in a sophisticated Gothic manner in slight contrapposto with a blank gaze. Almost, unaware of the fact that the head of his rival lays between his legs, to which a few art scholars have describe as cockiness for the reason of the subtle contort of his torso. The representation of David was a valuable element when it came to politics as well as a symbol of religion. Donatello was asked to craft the statue seem more human than a prophet and the pedestal that the sculpture is on reads: “PRO PATRIA FORTITER DIMICANTIBUS ETIAM ADVERSUS TERRIBILISSIMOS HOSTES DII PRAESTANT AUXILIUM (To those who fight bravely for the fatherland the gods lend aid even against the most terrible foes).” Which I like to believe, that it was meant for the people of Florence, they were words of encouragement since, Florence was a thri...

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... we see a return to marble, which was what Donatello sculpted his first David. But rather then, having him in a moment of glory, he chose to depict him in the moments leading up to the slaying of Goliath. We encounter the depiction of a man, who is aware of what he is capable of, as to what the other three David’s we’ve seen. The first three are almost indifferent for what they had accomplished, but Michelangelo’s version hasn’t achieved anything yet, he exudes confidence just the slight lift of his arm up to his collar bone standing in contrapposto. In particular, he isn’t gazing direct at us but looking onto what’s to come, which adds a great amount of obscurity as to what his looking at. Also, the amount of energy that his body is projecting to us just by the way his insensitive torso and strapping limbs are hinting of the great victory he is about to encounter.

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