Renaissance Comparison

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Renaissance: Compare the two David’s: one by Donatello and the other by Michelangelo. Consider formal and contextual elements (FORMAL: viewpoint, materials, volume, texture; CONTEXTUAL: artist, patron, viewers, original location, political/religious/social messages- narrative moment, facial features/expressions).

Donatello was an artist in the early Renaissance. His interpretation of David is the earliest known life-size bronze nude European art (Stokstad and Cothren 321). The sculpture stands over five feet tall. Originally it was documented in the courtyard of Medici Palace in Florence in 1469. Florentines thought Donatello’s David to represent heroism and virtue (Stokstad and Cothren 321). During high Renaissance in 1501, Florentine commissioned Michelangelo for a statue of David (Stokstad and Cothren 344). Originally sought to display atop a cathedral, the sculpture was placed beside the Palazzo della Signoria for better viewing by the city (Stokstad and Cothren 344). Upon completion, Michelangelo’s David stands seventeen feet tall out of marble. Both statues are representation of biblical story of the giant Goliath and David is sculpted nude. However, Michelangelo sculpted David as in the story before defeating giant, standing for right over might. The artist positioned body (tall, muscular definition, and larger right hand), facial expression (staring off with brow as to be in thought) with just weapon (slingshot) on shoulder to show viewers the psychological preparation for upcoming battle (Stokstad and Cothren 344). Florentines used this as a symbol in their own military pressure. Looking back, Donatello’s David was sculpted as in the story after conquering the giant Goliath. He portrays David’s facial expression to show liberation, body is more slouched and less defined as Michelangelo portrays, holding sword in right hand with no apparent difference in size as Michelangelo, and also wearing helmet. Overall, both statues are significant...
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