Florence, Italy: Michelangelo’s David

Florence, Italy: Michelangelo’s David


Florence was long an economic powerhouse. Rather than its church, it’s the city hall —once the palace of the Medici family—that
towers over the main square. Michelangelo’s David originally stood here —this is a copy. The original David is the centerpiece of the
nearby Accademia Gallery, which feels like a temple to humanism. At its altar… one very impressive human. The shepherd boy, David,
sizes up the giant… thoughtful and self assured, he seems to
be thinking, “I can take him.” The statue was an apt symbol, inspiring Florentines to tackle
their Goliaths…. When you look at David, you’re looking at
Renaissance man. Artists now made their point
using realism. They did this by merging
art and science. For instance, Michelangelo actually dissected human
corpses to better understand anatomy. This humanism was not anti-religion. Now, people realized that the best way to glorify
God was not to bow down in church all day long, but to recognize their talents
and to use them. Artists like Michelangelo even exaggerated
realism to make their point: notice David’s large and overdeveloped
right hand. This is symbolic of the hand of God. It was God that powered David to slay
the giant… and Florentines liked to think God’s favor
enabled them to rise above rival neighboring city-states. The nave-like hall leading to David is lined with
Michelangelo’s unfinished prisoners —struggling to break out of
the marble. Michelangelo believed these figures were
divinely created within the rock. . He was simply chiseling away the excess. Here we see the Renaissance love of
the body as Michelangelo reveals these
compelling figures. While these statues are called unfinished… perhaps Michelangelo was satisfied
he’d set them free… and he moved on to other challenges.

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