David- Michelangelo vs. Bernini
The Baroque period of the 17th century had both incorporated and rejected the ideals of the antecedent High Renaissance art. Like High Renaissance art, Baroque art focused on making idealized and natural artwork. However, Baroque art introduced a way of involving the viewer into the artwork that was new and differed from High Renaissance art, which instead kept the viewer at a distance. The composition and diagonal movement in the space are two of the features of Baroque Art that originated intense emotional responses in the viewers. These features are reflected in Bernini’s David and they contrast Michelangelo’s David. While the realism and dynamism of Bernini’s David make it a typical Baroque work, Michelangelo’s David high idealization and more static and solid pose make it a typical work of High Renaissance art. The statues represent the same character, the David who beats Goliath, and they both embody the ideal of male form in a natural setting rather than posed. Michelangelo and Bernini were able to give personality, emotion, and quite nearly a soul to their works. In this sense, the statues are similar because they both were innovative with respect of the ancient tradition that created works that were perfectly balanced, but not as perfectly evocative. However, there are some differences between the two David : the timing of the action that they capture, their physical characteristics, and their involvement with the surrounding space. While Michelangelo depicted a David who is contemplating a task ahead of him, Bernini captured the young man already involved in the action that will mark his success. This is where the differences between the statues originated: Michelangelo’s work had to manifest confidence, focus and controlled emotion, all necessary for a man who is preparing for something; Bernini’s had to be all about the determination involved in the heroic act and its dramatic character. Michelangelo’s David...
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