Michelangelo’s David was created in 1504, represents not only the artist’s incredible talent for sculpting the human form, but also his beloved Florence’s symbolic battle to maintain independence, a battle lost in 1530.
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Michelangelo’s David represents not only the artist’s incredible talent for sculpting the human form, but also his beloved Florence’s symbolic battle to maintain independence, a battle lost in 1530. David is also a key attraction in the Galleria dell’ Academia, which features several works by Michelangelo as the centerpiece of its attractions.
David, considered one of Michelangelo’s finest sculptures, was the last major sculptural undertaking Michelangelo could complete before the Vatican commissioned him the ceiling frescoes of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting in 1508. Future work, such as the statues for the Julius II Tomb, were unfinished because of his work with the Chapel.
David was noteworthy to Michelangelo’s peers for its commanding vitality and beauty.
- Michelangelo’s David was created in 1504
- David Stands at 4.34 m/14.24 feet
- David portrays the biblical David prior to his battle with Goliath.
- Michelangelo sculpted David from an enormous block of marble that was left unused for over 40 years by Agostino di Duccio.
- In this heroic work, Michelangelo successfully fused classical inspiration with Florentine humanism and enhanced this fusion through his own depiction of the male nude as well as the subject’s superior athleticism and dynamic action.
There is an almost unsettling contrast in the view of David when one circles and examines the form: The right-hand side of the statue is smooth and composed, while the left-side, from the outstretched foot all the way up to the disheveled hair, is openly active and dynamic. The muscles and the tendons are developed only to the point where they can still be interpreted as the perfect instrument for a strong will, and not to the point of becoming individual self-governing forms.
Michelangelo’s subject, David, is from the Biblical legend of David and Goliath, in which David must conquer the formidable 9-foot-tall giant to in order to ensure his camp of Israelites would not succumb to the rule of the Philistines. While some artists might grapple with this source of inspiration and ultimately produce a work of David after the battle, perhaps terrible and triumphant, holding the head of the slain giant, Michelangelo had a unique vision: To capture David in the poignant and glorious moment before the battle has been fought. David’s face conveys a mixture of emotions: pride, strength, rebellion, and a certain amount of righteousness. Perhaps Michelangelo has caught him just in the moment when he has heard that his people are hesitating, and he sees Goliath jeering and mocking them.