Who is David? David is the man portrayed in the Bible who is destined to become Israel’s second King. One of David’s well-known stories was the time when he killed the Philistine giant, Goliath, with a sling and a stone. Many artist during the Renaissance designed sculptures of David. These artists include Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and Bernini. Each of these artists chose to create David in their own special and different way.
The first artist who chose to create a sculpture of David was Donatello. Donatello’s David was the first life size nude statue since the classical times. His creation found a median between Classicism and the realism by creating David as a very real person. He was created to look like an Italian peasant boy in the form of a classical nude figure. Donatello was highly influenced by other classical figures, but when he created David, he didn’t create him as a Greek youth in his prime. Donatello chose to created a David that looked like a barely developed adolescent boy who at first glance looked somewhat weak, do to the lack to muscles and minor definition. Once David defeated Goliath, he cut of the Philistine’s head. In Donatello’s David, the head is placed under the foot of David while he has as large sword at his side. The sword seems too large compared to the boy that one might think David would have been too feeble to even lift such and instrument. The large sword makes it appear as if it was impossible to achieve the task that he had just doe. David appears uncertain of his accomplishment, as he appears to be looking down at his own body. David’s intelligence must have made up for his lack of muscular build. (Fichner-Rathus 331-332)
The next artist, Verrocchio, who also designed of sculpture of David, was one of the most imaginative sculptors of the middle 1400s. This young depiction of David is one of the most treasured and famous works of its time. When one looks at Verrocchio’s David, they can see a connection of the of Donatello’s David as well. It is not a similarity, but a contrast. Both sculptors chose to portray David as a very young boy, but Verrocchio created his David to appear “brave and somewhat older and excludes pride and self-confidence instead of a dreamy gaze of disbelief”(Fichner-Rathus 334). Donatello stood between realistic elements w...
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...ecause of David’s positioning, a new concept of space comes into existence. “No longer does the figure remain still in a Classical contrapposto stance, but rather extends into the surrounding space away from a vertical axis. This movement outward from a central core forces the viewer to take into account both the form and the space between and surrounding the forms in order to appreciate the complete composition”(Fichner-Rathus 360). To comprehend this work we must not look at it from one angle but every viewpoint possible. As we do this we can see the sculpture change.
It is easy to see that the sculptures created my Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and Bernini are different. Donatello showed David as a very young boy who seemed almost incapable and amazed at his feat. Verrocchio’s David is just an adolescent, but he appears to be a little older than Donatello’s, and have more confidence. Michelangelo’s David has just become a man and it actually looks as though he could slaughter Goliath. Finally, Bernini created a work that was fully grown. His imagination led him create a strong, brave David that definitely has the capability to kill Goliath.
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