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Michelangelo David History

On August 4, 1501, the political turmoil which had erupted in Florence in 1492 after the death of Lorenzo

the Magnificent came to an end. A republic was finally reestablished and Michelangelo returned to Florence, where only twelve days after the proclamation of the republic he was commissioned by the Arte della Lana, a group responsible for the maintenance and ornamentation of the cathedral, to sculpt what would become one of Michelangelo’s most famous works: David.

View Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo was given a block of damaged marble 19 feet tall, and three years later he unveiled his 17-foot tall statue, which was then transported from his studio behind the cathedral to the Palazzo Vecchio, a process which took 40 men five days to complete and included tearing down archways and widening streets to make way for the colossal work. For a long time the recorded height of David was incorrect. Someone early on who was writing about the statue measured its height incorrectly, and then this number was referenced over and over again until recently when the statue was measured again and it was discovered that David was not 434 cm (14.24 ft) tall, as people had believed for centuries, but actually 517 cm (17 ft) tall.

Michelangelo’s version of David is depicted differently than many other David statues, most of which make him a very young boy. Michelangelo, however, makes him a muscular young adult. However, despite his athletic build, he still looks nervous about the upcoming battle, perhaps knowing he will be facing Goliath soon. He has a sling in his left hand slung over his shoulder, and in his right hand, which is actually much larger than the left, there is a rock. Michelangelo is able to catch an amazing amount of detail in marble, a very unforgiving medium, including veins and individual curls of hair.

Michelangelo David Location

Today, the original can be seen in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, while copies of the famous work can be found all over the world, including the original location of the statue in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Michelangelo David Facts

Sculpture Title: David

Artist: Michelangelo Buonarroti

Date Commissioned:
  August 16, 1501

Date Began:
  September 13, 1501

Date Completed:

Carrara Marble

  517 cm (17 ft)

Original Location:
  Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Current Location:
  Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, Italy

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