Compare and Contrast the Different Statues of David Term Paper

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statues of David

I choose the two contrasting statues of David, the one created by Michaelangelo, the other created by Bernini. They seem to me to represent two juxtaposing poses and two variants of the same mythical figure, David.

Both statues are nude only that of Bernini's is covered with a loincloth. The most dramatical difference is that Michaelangelo's David stands in a contemplative pose looking to the right with hand slung over his shoulder as though seizing up and contemplating his circumstances and opponent, whilst Bernini's David is in active position intent on, and in the very act of, slinging his foe.

Michaelangelo's David

Michaelangelo's David is a 5.17 m marble slab of statue created between 1501 and 1504. His statue was placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, which was the seat of civic government moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873 and replaced in the original location with a replica.

Michelangelo's statue turns with a warning glare towards Rome as inference that she, amongst other neighboring countries, dare not threaten the vulnerably and position of Florence.

Michaelangelo's David differs from previous statues of David in various ways, not least that David does not stand with Goliath's head at his feet as it does in previous statues such as those of Donatello and Verrocchio or by Andrea del Castagno where Goliath's head rests between his feet (Hibbard, 1974; Hughes, 1997 ). Rather, Michaelangelo's David has a concerned and furrowed look about his eyes as though he is considering the immensity of the act that he is about to do and worried about its implications. Whilst his muscles are taut and ready for combat, his body is in a relaxed pose and he confidently carries his sling over his left shoulder. In his right hand, that rests on his thigh, he carries the stone that is ready for the throw. The bulk of David's weight rests on his right leg and he stands in the 'contrapposto' pose, that is quixotic of most statues of Greek heroes, such as Doryphoros by Polykleitos

The David too has an unusually large head and hands possibly due to the fact that the statue was originally intended to be placed in the Cathedral rooftop. He is also unusually slender compared to the height of his figure.

Bernini's David

Bernini's David, executed between 1623 to 1624, was commissioned by his patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese in order to decorate his villa - the Galleria Borghese, a nd this is where it still stands.

David's iconoclastic harp stands at his feet, as well as does the armor that David, unaccustomed to, shed. His nudity is only partially covered by a loincloth. He grips his sling with both hands; a pouch dangling from his side holds his stones. Bernini's David frowns and bites his lower lips, his eyes squinting in concentration. He seems less handsome, more ruddy and squat than Michelangelo's David. He is certainly more furious. As bellicose figure, he was portrayed with the extreme proportions of a 1:10 head-to-body ratio (Preimesberger, 1985, pp. 1 -- 24.) His statue is 170 cm.

Bernini's David differs from statues of other Davids in significant ways. Firstly his statue is not self-contained as the other are but interacts with the space around it. It is said that the Hellenistic Borghese Gladiator could have been the influence for Bernini's David (Hibbard, 1965) as well as possibly the fresco of Annibale Carracci' illustrating Cyclops Polyphemus too in the act of throwing a stone (Preimesberger, 1985).

Bernini's David is also in the midst of the battle as opposed to that of Michaelangelo who has his David preparign fore battle, whilst Donatello and Verrocchio celebrate the triumphant David. Bernini's David throwing the stone too was a rare event in post-Antiquity statues where the statues were largely passive.

Bernini's statue also differed from the statues of other Renaissance artists in general and from Renaissance statues of David in particular in that Renaissance statues were generally viewed form a one-side perspective. Bernini's David was three-diemntaisonal and, as such, required the viewer to walk around it in order to see the statue in its changing poise (Hibbard, 1965). The website for the Web Gallery of Art states it in this way:

"The number of points-of-view the sculptor intended to present to the spectator is still a matter…

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