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Encyclopedia > Michelangelo's David

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Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo's David, finished by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1504 (started in 1501) is widely considered to be a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture[?]. David portrays the Biblical King David at the moment that he decides to engage Goliath[?]. This 4.1 meter (13' 5") marble statue was commissioned as a symbol of the Florentine Republic. Notice the sling over the figure's shoulder and the almost perfect human proportions depicted.

Michelangelo's David is based on the artistic discipline of disegno[?], which is built on knowledge of the male human form. Under this discipline, sculpture is considered to be the finest form of art because it mimics divine creation. Because Michelangelo adhered to the concepts of disegno, he worked under the premise that the image of David was already in the block of stone he was working on -- in much the same way as the human soul is thought to be found within the physical body. It is also an example for the contrapposto style.

The proportions are not quite true to the human form; the head and upper body are somewhat larger than the proportions of the lower body. While some have suggested that this is mannerist stylization, the most commonly accepted explanation is that the statue was originally intended to be placed on a church fascade or high pedestal, and that the proportions would appear correct when the statue was viewed from some distance below.

The statue attracts many visitors to the Accademia Gallery in Florence.



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