Do you think that Michelangelo’s “David” fitting in with Renaissance standards caused it to be the most famous of all the Davids? Do you think it is something beyond this? What other qualities have made it capture generations of people and become the most famous sculpture in the world?
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Just to have seen Michaelangelo's David in real life is the answer to the question of its being "something beyond" Renaissance standards of perfection of the spirit in the perfection of the body. For, Michaelangelo was able to create such vitality and fluid fintensity in his sculpture of marble.
Only twenty-six when he shaped the young David, Michaelangelo generated into the youth an electricity and intensity unparalleled by other artists, perhaps imbuing some of his own exuberance into the marble. While others have depicted David in conquest of the giant, or drawing a bead on his target with a young and unerring eye as did Bernini, Michaelangelo captures the young male in his most intense moment: that of confrontation. Although the pose is relaxed, the penetrating focus of David's study of his enemy flows through his body that seems to emit a controlled energy. Interestingly, the right hand, "the executive hand" as it has been called, is carved aggressively larger as is the head, denoting also the warrior-like appearance of the youth.
Michaelangelo's bold insistence on David's nudity also expresses virility and raw energy of character. In this, Michaelangelo has adapted classical Hellenistic art. Then, with the superbly carved head and its relation to the torso, the genius of Michaelangelo has achieved the Florentine ideal of beauty of the body, spirit, and mind. Thus, this David is less of a representation of the shepherd boy who defied overwhelming odds than of a personification of the ideal of physical prowess and strength of the human spirit which Michaelangelo himself wished to express.
When viewing the original and, perhaps more so, when viewing the weather-stained copy whose massive scale of 17 feet is more telling outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the impact of David is overwhelming, electric, intense, and absolutely magnificent. Indeed, there is a grandeur and moving intensity that cannot be matched by other works of this nature.
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