Donatello and Michelangelo Hands on TMNT 2014 HD Wallpaper #6607
When thinking about a triumph over an unimaginable feat, the story of David and Goliath comes to mind. During the Italian Renaissance, Florence was under constant change and turmoil however David remained a consistent symbol of endless possibilities for the people. “For the Florentines, David represented the essence of civic virtue-courage, fortitude, and faith” (Murray, 39). Various artists have revealed their own depictions of the young shepherd boy but two stand out among the masses. Donatello and Michelangelo both created masterpieces on the biblical subject although the approaches of each artist were completely diverse and caused unique reactions.
Sculpting David: Donatello and Michelangelo
The bible’s story of David and Goliath created a symbol of good triumphing over evil that influenced years of commissioned art in the city of Florence Italy. In 1 Samuel 17 the Israelites are being defeated by the Philistine warriors, and nobody will challenge the Philistine’s huge warrior Goliath in battle. A young shepherd comes forward and triumphs over Goliath using a slingshot and the huge warriors own sword (Fairchild) The city of Florence, surrounded by warring neighbors and the internal powerful Medici family, came to see David as representing the underdog who triumphs over evil, the symbol of their own city. Three statues of David commissioned in Florence by two artists Donatello and Michelangelo demonstrate the importance of this symbol to the city. Yet these three statues have their own unique symbolism, their history and unique visual appearance tell a lot about the political and cultural climates they were created within.
Compared to Donatello’s bronze David, also created in Florence – though a half century earlier – we see several tantalizing similarities and differences. Both are heroic nudes standing in contrapposto, though Donatello dressed his figure in boots and a hat. Unlike the semi-effeminate boy that Donatello created, Michelangelo presented David as a strong and assured man stripped of all the other objects associated with the biblical narrative, such as the head of Goliath or the sword. Instead, David stands alone with only his slingshot and stones almost hidden on his person. Scale is also an important consideration, since Donatello’s David is less than half the height of Michelangelo’s. In fact, Michelangelo presents us with David in giant form, which is ironic since his enemy is a giant. The colossal size is significant because it was the first time that a large scale nude statue was made in the Renaissance since antiquity. But perhaps even more striking is the timing in the narrative at which we are seeing David as depicted by Donatello and Michelangelo. The earlier sculptor shows us David after the fight has already occurred and after he is victorious in battle. Not so with the latter. Instead, Michelangelo shows us David before he is engaged in battle, and before victory has been attained. This anticipation of action is manifested in the face of Michelangelo’s David, which conveys intense concentration and a furrowed brow as he stares into the distance. This is a figure who is focused on the future rather than one who is contemplating the past.