“David”

Michelangelo, “David” 1501-04. Marble.

 

If you’re going to name the most famous painting in the world it is probably the “Mona Lisa;” the most famous sculpture – “David.” He is one of those iconic images that we are so familiar with, yet this is one instance where seeing the original cannot compare to the wikipedia version. From head to toe he stands 17ft. tall – not counting the marble plinth his contrapposto’d form rests on. Originally, the sculpture stood in the Palazzo della Signora as a symbol of the defiant Florentine city state against the rule of the Medici and the surrounding powerful nation states. It is no wonder that the city of Florence chose this biblical character, the classic underdog, (David as a youth) to represent their status. The statue was moved into the Accademia Gallery, where it stands today – being replaced by a replica in the Palazzo. The hours you will most likely wait to see it is worth it. For me, this will always be my favorite David – because  this is my favorite version of the real man; defiant, brave, full of faith. This is the David who wrestled lions and killed a giant with a rock. Who made Kings and ‘bigger’ men feel foolish for their cowardice. He isn’t cocky, he just knows that the Almighty  stands behind him. I can’t help but imagine God with his hand on that right shoulder. His eyes are full of an even strength that is actually a bit unnerving – you don’t want to mess with this guy! My favorite part of seeing this sculpture in person is David’s hands. Ask any artist – hands are the thorn in their side, but Michelangelo manages to make them look perfectly proportionate, yet somehow bigger and stronger than would be natural. This is the magic of art – those little details, that activate that untapped portion of our brain to see beyond the limits of the physical world.

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