David by Michelangelo vs Bernini

Topics: David, Florence, Protestant Reformation Pages: 5 (1250 words) Published: November 5, 2014
LA 121 - OL7
Linda Liu


In this essay, I’m going to compare and contrast sculptures of a biblical hero character found in the old testament; David. David was one of the most anointed man of God found in the bible. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why there are so many different versions of David, that a lot of artists from different periods depicts many different story of David’s life. David become the King of Israel after Saul stepped down. His name become well known as the King of Israel. Not to mention, he was first acknowledge when he win against Giant Goliath with only a stick and a few stones on his hands. He called upon God’s name and took his first shot which goes straight into Goliath’s head and killed him.

The first David that I’m going to talk about is David in the period of High Renaissance done by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Michelangelo was one of the greatest sculptor of all time. As his work David become one of the most famous masterpiece that he has done, which has been admired by a lot of people even until now. It was made between the year 1501-1504 by Michelangelo when he was only 24. He was given a giant slab of marble that other sculptor had disregard years before. No one has never expected that it turns out to be one of the greatest art work in the history. The statue was made on the city of Florence and was originally located at Piazza della Signoria. It is then moved to prevent breakage from time and weather. The statue is now resides in the Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti.

Michelangelo choose one of the most famous story of David, facing a nine foot, bronze armored Philistine; Giant Goliath. He depicts the moment before the fight where David is waiting for the Goliath’s approach. He stands calmly in a classical contrapposto pose yet

Novita Zeslin Japara
LA 121 - OL7
Linda Liu

attentively as we can see clearly from his expression. His head is turned, followed by his furrowed eye brow translate clearly to the viewer that he is in the moment of battle, even though the viewer cannot see the Goliath’s presence. Michelangelo portray David as a strong, heroic, nude male, almost have a similar characteristic to Hellenistic period type of art. Michelangelo represented David as a strong and healthy man both physically and mentally condition, symbolize a Neoplatonic Ideal. It was the first nude male figure sculpted since classical antiquity. He believe that nudity is divine beauty form God which can’t be translated as profane. David’s proportions and expressions represents a typical of Michelangelo’s work. It depicts self control as well as tension at the same time.

As from what I have described, Michelangelo’s David somewhat characterize and symbolize perfectly on Florentine’s feeling. During that time, Florence was going through some difficult time. Because they were a major political force in Italy at that time, Florence was feared that they will dominate against Rome. The city then becomes alert and ready to face continual threats. David represented as a heroic male model of courage. David delivers a strong message of his inner spiritual strength which can proved that they are more effective than a man’s strength. He showed us that his faith in God has saved him, not because his own strength but it is all by God ("The Lord is my strength and my shield."). Florentine picturing themselves as David figting against the Giant “Roman”. The statue representing their feelings become the civic piece of the City of Florence which represents the Florentine pride.

The next David that I’m going to discuss is David in the period of Italian Baroque done by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It was done between 1623 to 1624, sculpted by Bernini at the age of 25. Just

LA 121 - OL7
Linda Liu

like Michelangelo, Bernini is an artist who worked in a variety of mediums, but sculpting is his passion. Not just that, both artists sculpted the same biblical hero David on his fight against...

Citations: Academy, Khan. "Bernini 's David." Bernini. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.
"Booking Site Borghese Gallery Bernini - David." Booking Site Borghese Gallery Bernini David. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.
N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.
LA 121 - OL7
Linda Liu
"Michelangelo Buonarroti." Michelangelo Buonarroti. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.
Barbara, Cohen. "David - Biblical Jewish King." David - Biblical Jewish King. N.p., 1995. Web.
21 Dec. 2012.
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