Being of Italian ancestry, of course I am very partial to any trip to Italy, but putting all that aside, Italy truly has much to offer. The architecture, the churches with intricate wood work and priceless stained glass, the ruins of famed places in history, the picturesque countryside – all unbelievably fabulous. We could never forget the music nor the fabulous food! But I would like to dedicate this blog to the love of my life – Michelangelo’s David! Yes, I was always fascinated by the sheer dominance of this sculpture, but once I saw him – it was true love.
Michelangelo was given a block of damaged marble 19 feet tall, and three years later he unveiled his 17-foot tall statue and this great sculpture would confirm him as even more than just Florence’s greatest sculptor. What the Florentines saw that day in 1504, was an unequaled masterpiece! Michelangelo’s version of David is depicted differently than many other David statues, most of which make him a very young boy. The sculptor makes his David a muscular young adult. And, despite his athletic build, he still looks nervous about the upcoming battle, perhaps knowing he will be facing the giant Goliath soon. He has a sling in his left hand slung over his shoulder, and in his right hand, which is actually much larger than the left, there is a rock. Michelangelo is able to catch an amazing amount of detail in marble, a very unforgiving medium, including veins and individual curls of hair. Its position, though expressing perfect balance, suggests movement, with its left heal raised off the ground. The attitude is strong, arrogant and, above all, filled with inner life like no other similar classical statue. Behind the apparent equilibrium, David shows repressed energy and tension. Strength is expressed in the extraordinary vitality of his challenging look, below those frowning eyebrows and in the muscular tautness shown by his meticulous design of anatomical parts. You feel it the moment you lay eyes on him – he is simply magnificent. Michelangelo also uses an ingenious technique, giving authority to his character through lack of proportion for some parts: the hands, knotted and extremely beautiful, you could look at them for hours, the face with the neck bigger than half the chest. It is in the hands and face that the virtues of universal man are to be found, – physical strength and the intellectual reasoning of man and unprecedented beauty.
When researching David I discovered a truly interesting article:
“Several reproductions of the statue have been made throughout the years. For instance, the plaster cast of this biblical hero is currently displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum. However, this statue has a plaster fig leaf, which was created when Queen Victoria was shocked about the statue’s nudity. The plaster fig leaf is hung on the figure using two hooks, prior to any royal visits.” Oh the Victorian moralities!
On your Interlude through Italy you will see many of the famed works of Michelangelo, the Pieta, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and other works of art, but none more impressive than the much beloved – David.
Did you know…
- Michelangelo was also a poet, there are some 300 poetic works still in existence that are attributed to him.
- In his old age Michelangelo nearly lived as a hermit rarely coming into contact with others except when his work brought contact about. He lived in squalor despite being rich.
- Michelangelo was often dissatisfied with himself and his work. He was known for his sharp, critical, volatile temperament.
- Towards the end of his life Michelangelo destroyed many of his sketches not wanting people to know how hard he worked.
Please read the complete itinerary of this leisurely tour through Italy and be prepare to “fall in love” with my David.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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