Sculptures Of David

     From 1430 to 1623A.D., four sculptures of the Biblical David were created. From
the master artists Bernini, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Verrocchio came the
most famous David’s of the world. Even though infinitely many were made, these
surpass the others to become marvels that will live forever. The earliest of the

David’s, is the work of Donatello(c.1430). This magnificent work is a
life-size, nude, bronze, figure of David. The sculpture is portraying the scene
after David has cut off the head of Goliath. His foot is raised on the severed
head in a stance of contropposto. His sword is in the right hand with the stone
in the left. This very smooth and natural looking sculpture was originally part
of Medici courtyard and is the only David of the four created for a private
collection. There are a few symbolic ingredients to this David. The style of the
figure refers to antiquity for the balance and composition of the nude. Energy
in the sculpture animates the emotions and is a new technique used in this

David, once again showing qualities from antiquity. This energy is not used in
the other figures. In addition, Donatello’s David is said to host homosexual
overtones, in the feministic appearance of the body and the stance. Overall,
this version of the biblical hero is elegantly designed and the originality is
fascinating. Verrocchio’s David (c.1473-75A.D.) greatly differs from those of
the other artists’. This statue was commissioned by the Medici family, like
that of Donatello’s. However, it was created for public display. It was in the

Palazzo Vecchio, where it gained almost a republican or city-related meaning
similar to the reputation that the David of Donatello gained, after it was also
moved to the same site. The similarity stops here. The proudness shows that the
hero was well capable of slaying the giant where Donatello’s shows almost no
emotion. The explicitness of the emotion contrasts greatly with the sensualness
of Donatello’s. Verrocchio’s is fully clothed in elegant armor when

Michelangelo’s and as well as Donatello’s were vulnerable in their nudity.

In Verrocchio’s sculpture, David carries a small sword in one hand and his
other is on his hip confidently. This figure shows a nice S-curve and a stance
of contropposto. Standing above the head of the giant, the sculpture takes place
after the slaying of Goliath. The facial expression show triumph and most of all
confidence. Therefore, this work shows psychological implications. However, it
was meant to be more appreciated for its exceptional bronze sheen. The gigantic

David by Michelangelo (c.1501-04A.D.) is an unquestionable masterpiece. It was
originally commissioned as a decoration for the Florence Cathedral. Since the
sculpture was so majestic, it was decided to be displayed in a closer, more
visible area. It was finally moved in front of Piazza della Signoria, where it
would replace a sculpture of Donatello’s. This David is a full nude that shows

David before battle. The face is in profile; he has a slingshot in the left hand
and a stone in the right. The face shows extreme emotion which pulls it away
from the classical genre. The design and stance of the figure has a confidence
and arrogance that matched that of its creator, Michelangelo. This version of
the hero was looked to as a potent symbol in Florence, resembling the Biblical
beliefs along with the fusion of civic beliefs. This is very unlike the
symbolism of Donatello’s. The nudity symbolizes that David’s platonic love
and belief in God protected him. Michelangelo’s David is an incredible
representation of both the Bible story, in that it closely follows the
scripture, and reason, in the references to Greek philosophy. Thus also
symbolizing that reason and faith (Christianity) can coexist. Finally,

Bernini’s David (c.1623A.D.) conquers all in the expression of emotion. This
public sculpture has a face full of determination and struggling. The
exaggerated S-curve of the figure shows movement as David is throwing the stone.

None of the other three sculptures give insight during the battle with the
giant. Also, Bernini’s David is clothed in a tunic and is carrying a pouch of
some sort. He’s holding the rock and slingshot as in action while his feet are
firmly planted in the ground. This is certainly the most dramatic and realistic
portrayal of David. Bernini’s objective was not like the other artists of the

David’s. His objective was drama. The symbolism is that of moments in his
lifetime. An example of this would be the harp at his feet, depicting his
abandonment of his music when he went to fight Goliath. The armor at his feet
showed that his sure feelings and belief in God protected him. And the slingshot
symbolized the triumph and victory over the giant. This work is one that gives
the viewer insight into the mind of David and takes them to the scene. Each
interpretation is interesting and has a slight mystery attached. All of the four

David’s excel in a particular area. Bernini’s David has the most emotional
appeal, where Donatello’s has the most serene and innocent qualities.

Verrocchio’s displays mighty confidence and Michelangelo’s David best fits
the Biblical David, in my opinion. Nevertheless, each sculpture will grab your
attention, leave you wordless and in awe.