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Donatello Bronze David Analysis

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Donatello’s Bronze David
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (circa 1386 – December 13, 1466), better known as Donatello, created two representations of the Old Testament hero, David. It is clear that both of Donatello’s sculptures had political ideas imbedded in them as per the Medici’s request. The first version commissioned in 1408, made out of marble was a more gothic representation of a Biblical figure and more typical of Donatello's early work which was heavily influenced by his teacher Lorenzo Ghiberti. The second version of David, radically different from its predecessor, rejected traditional representations with its sensuous youth and nudity. The enormous differences on the style, pose and placement also gave different, underlying meaning to the statues.
Donatello’s first representation of David (commissioned in 1408) sculpted out of marble had very gothic undertones, the positioning of the legs suggests a classical contrapposto (relaxed stance, shifted weight), the figure takes on an elegant Gothic sway which are seemingly the influence of Lorenzo Ghiberti. In 1416 the David was commanded to be sent to Signoria of Florence’s palazzo as it was viewed as an effective political symbol for Florence as well as a religious hero.

The bronze representation of the boy hero, which is one of the defining creation of Donatello’s work is the first major nude of the Renaissance. The commission for the sculpture came from Cosimo Medici, and it was to be in his courtyard. As the commission was not a public undertaking, it allowed Donatello the ‘freedom to explore’ and artistic maturity. Speculations put the bronze David about the 1440s, however exact dates are unknown.

In the following paragraphs I will dive into the deeper meaning of...

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...dici in 1466 and the Pazzi Conspiracy assassinated Giovanni de’ Medici in 1478, but failed to kill Lorenzo de’ Medici” According to McHam the bronze David served its purpose as a propaganda tool to displaying the Medici family as tyrant slayers, preservers of liberty and protectors of the Florence against enemy threats, be it foreign or native. However it’s important to note that the threats were not against Republican values or the freedom of Florence rather the “Medici family’s hold on power.”

In conclusion, it might seem for the casual viewer that the meanings behind bronze David are the traditional Biblical connotations but with some research, it is apparent that there are deeper layers to consider. Let him be the symbol of platonic love or a political symbol for the Medici family, David was/is a larger influence on the Renaissance and the following periods.
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