AP Art History
The David, a popular art subject was a take from the biblical story of the young boy who heroically killed the over towering giant Goliath. Other artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello have created their own versions of the David, with the exception of having sculpted them in different time periods. Donatello’s was in the early Renaissance, Michelangelo’s in the high, but Bernini’s took place in the Baroque era, a time characterized by dramatic movement and heavenly inspiration. David was depicted bent over in mid-action preparing to sling a stone giving the sense of climax. The implied diagonal lines of this marble sculpture further induce the feeling of movement; Bernini juxtaposes the concrete media of stone with the visual of an arching, flexing figure. The realism portrayed persuades the viewer that this is an average sized man that shouldn’t weigh more than one either, but we know different—mass is an illusion. David is past the traditional contrapposto stance, and fully extends his upper body to the side, probably balanced by the shed armor attached to the draping, clinging from his lower half. The artist does a tremendous job at differentiating texture, from the smooth bare skin and organic hair, to the twining rope and scaly breastplate beneath him. The lighting of this sculpture allows for high contrast-- shadows made by the extending appendages, adding to the intensity of what David is about to do. Represented in life size scale, this realistic shepherd looks like he will lunge his upper body in a second or two; the anticipation gives the viewer tension. Interactive in presentation, it is easy to feel as if we are biblical bystanders of what David is about to accomplish or even the abhorred Goliath himself, depending where you stand. The statue can be placed freestanding in any venue and viewers can make their way around the piece, getting to know it is facilitated through its human realism and proportion....
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