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Michelangelo's David


The Renaissance masterpiece housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence

The David is one of Michelangelo's best known sculptures, if not the most famous of all. A white marble masterpiece that stands 5.17 meters high, housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.

Michelangelo began sculpting the work in 1501 and it took him just 3 years to complete it, a challenge for the then-26 year old Michelangelo. The Opera del Duomo commissioned him to work on a giant block of marble that had been sitting unused for 40 years, because artists like Agostino di Duccio had thought it would be too fragile to support the weight of the legs. 

From that “dead” block of marble("male abbozatum et sculptum"), Michelangelo managed to sculpt a powerful, magnificent sculpture. In his depiction, David is no longer a child, as he is represented in works by other Renaissance masters like Donatello and Verrocchio. Instead, he’s a young and mighty man ready to strike down the giant, with a tension in his hands that hold a stone and sling, in his contracted muscles, and in his gaze: he truly seems as if he’s about to hurl a fatal blow. 

David's gaze
David's gaze

The statue became the symbol of the Florentine Republic: a committee of artists, which also included Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, decided to place it in front of Palazzo Vecchio, at the main entrance, where David would best symbolize the values of good government and defense.

The statue remained there until 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery for conservation purposes and where today it can be admired in all its splendor.

If you wish to know more, here are 7 interesting facts you might ignore about Michelangelo's David.

Galleria dell'Accademia
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