Michaelangelo and his work have long intrigued me so I had to write a piece on it.
Here is his most heralded work of art – The David
So why is the David such a big deal? Why is it considered the pinnacle of Michelangelo’s considerable achievements in sculpture, and indeed of the art in general?
The story starts some 100 years before Michelangelo was even born: a 5 metre tall block of marble, shunned by many masters because of imperfections, and left in the Duomo vault for the ensuing century.
Signore Buonnarotti, already a crabbity young man at 26, accepted the Chancellor’s challenge to turn the block into a masterpiece in 1501. It took him some 3 years of hard labour to chisel away the details we see today: I have highlighted the anatomically correct visible veins in David’s right hand, correctly absent in the raised left hand, and the indentations around the knee.
There were a great deal of political intrigues and philosophical underpinnings that influenced the David; it was a symbol of Firenze’s struggle against many Goliaths, of Michelangelo’s deep immersion in the newly-rediscovered Platonic ideals that catalysed much of the Renaissance, of the attendant ascension of man to an exalted position in the Universe’s order, and of course, of the artist’s struggle with the challenge of creating beauty from a challenging block of marble. David, however, is relaxed in the face of these Goliaths, his gaze fixed on the prize and stance confident.
To Michelangelo, existence was a struggle, and art was an expression of his pain; this stemmed from his own physical struggles in the line of duty to art (12 hour work days, weeks without bathing), and the metaphysical ideals he aspired to.
I think we can all agree that the results of the crabbity young Signore Buonarotti’s pain are nothing short of spectacular.
Hope you people enjoyed this story.
Have a great week 🙂