Did you know that Michelangelo's David is one of a longer list of Davids made in Florence? The figure appears in famous versions by Donatello and Verrocchio and in paintings. But what is the story of David and how accurately do these statues reflect that story?
In the Middle Ages the favoured figure of David was the aged King David, usually shown with a harp as his symbol. In the Renaissance they preferred depictions of David before his rise to the throne as king, when he was a shepherd-boy, keeping his father’s flocks. The Catholic Encyclopedia is a great resource for reading on Saints, from which we learn:
"whilst his three elder brothers were in the field, fighting under [King] Saul against the Philistines, David was sent to the camp with some provisions and presents; there he heard the words in which the giant, Goliath of Geth, defied all Israel to single combat, and he volunteered with God’s help to slay the Giant. David’s victory over Goliath won for him the tender friendship of Jonathan, the son of Saul. He obtained a permanent position at court, but his great popularity and the imprudent songs of the women excited the jealousy of the king, who on two occasions attempted to kill him".