Don’t miss Michaelangelo’s other works in the Accademia, including the unfinished Prisoners and a statue of St Matthew
“No other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelagnolo finish it.” So wrote Giorgio Vasari, a great artist and author in his own right — it is high praise indeed. Housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia, Michaelangelo’s David is perhaps the most famous sculpture in the world; no trip to Florence would be complete without seeing it.
The large statue was commissioned by the Opera del Duomo many years earlier but two other sculptors, Agostino di Duccio and Antonio Rossellino, rejected the huge block of marble they were offered because it contained too many taroli — imperfections that can undermine the stability of such a huge sculpture. By contrast Michaelangelo, still only 26 years old in 1501, relished the challenge.
Two years of solid work produced his greatest masterpiece. Standing at 14 ft tall, David depicts the eponymous biblical hero, renowned for standing up to the colossal Goliath with only his sling, stones, and faith.
The city council were stunned by its beauty and assembled a committee of thirty, including artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, to choose an appropriate stage for David. They settled on the Piazza della Signoria, in the political heart of Florence. A replica remains there even now, while the original stands tallest among a wealth of treasures in the Accademia.
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