Professor Mark Moak
1 December 2011
The Life and Times of the Four David Artists
Through out the years there were many great artists who created many great
works of art, but only four Italian artists really stick out for creating the same piece all
with different points of views. These artists were Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo,
and Bernini, all of who created a David sculpture. Each one very unique and different.
These four artists all stand out in there own individual ways.
David who was supposed to be the second king of Israel, killed Goliath with just
a sling and a single stone. The story of David and Goliath goes something like this,
according to the bible in 1 Samuel 17. “The Philistine army gathered for war against the
Israelites. The two armies faced each other on opposite sides of a valley. A Philistine
giant named Goliath, would come out in armor and challenge the Israelites to war. The
King of Israel who at that time was Saul, and his whole army were scared of Goliath.
David who was the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to battle for one simple task, to
bring his father back news of his brothers. While there, David heard Goliath shouting
and saw the fear that had began to show in the men of Israel. David volunteered
himself to fight Goliath, it took sometime for Saul to agree, but finally he gave in.
Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying only his staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones,
David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, making horrible threats and
insults. David said to Goliath, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,
but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of
Israel, whom you have defied ... today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to
the birds of the air ... and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel ... it is
not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give
all of you into our hands.’ As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag
and took out a single stone and aimed for Goliath's head. Finding a hole in the armor,
the stone sank into Goliath’s forehead and caused Goliath to fall face down on the
ground. David then took Goliath's sword, killed him and cut off his head. When the
Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned around and ran. At this moment
the Israelites began to pursue, chase and kill their enemy (1 Samuel 17).”
As time went on four very different artists became inspired to create their own
very different and very unique David’s. These four artists were Donatello, Verrocchio,
Michelangelo and Bernini.
First was Donatello. Donatello was an early Italian artist and sculptor from
Florence. Donatello is well known for doing most of his work in bas-relief, which is a
shallow relief, which is well incorporated in his 14th century works. Donatello created
many major works such as the statue of St. Mark in 1411 through 1413. In 1417
Donatello completed St. George, which is shown in bas relief and shows one of the first
examples of central point perspective. Central point perspective is when all the
perspective lines come from one point in the painting or drawing. One of the things
that I read about that I found funny was that Donatello sculpted a tabernacle for his
work but was sold in 1460 to hold Verrocchio’s Incredulity of St. Thomas. Between 1415
and 1426, Donatello created five more statues for Giotto’s campanile of Santa Maria del
Fiore in Florence, which to some of us we like to call the Duomo. The five works that are
in the campanile are the Beardless Prophet, the Bearded Prophet, which were both made in
the year 1415, the Sacrifice of Isaac in 1421, Habbakuk in the years 1423 through 1425, and
Jeremiah in the years 1423 through 1426.
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