The David in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy
If there’s one statue you can’t afford to miss on your trip to Florence, it is Michelangelo’s David. It was an instant classic when it was first unveiled in 1504 and has eclipsed all other sculptures since then.
The sculpture depicts David moments before he slews Goliath and is an icon for the power of the human body. It is the centerpiece of the Accademia Gallery’s Tribunal Room.
What is the David?
Michelangelo’s David is a larger-than-life marble sculpture of the biblical youth who slayed the giant Goliath. The perfectly chiseled Renaissance masterpiece is a pinnacle of male perfection and one of the most famous pieces of art in the world.
Despite the fact that the statue was carved out of a single block of marble, Michelangelo managed to master every curve and detail. From the flexed thigh muscles to the pulsing veins in the left hand, David is a wonder to behold.
The V&A’s cast of David has been a favourite since it arrived at the museum in 1857 thanks to a donation by Queen Victoria. Today, the David inspires artists, designers and film-makers alike. From coffee-table art books to kitchen aprons, you’ll find reproductions of the sculpture all over the world.
Where is the David?
Michelangelo’s iconic David is located in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy. The 17-foot statue depicts the biblical hero David before his battle with Goliath. Michelangelo masterfully captured the human form, showing off David’s chiseled muscles and protruding veins in his hands. He also sculpted the folds of David’s robe and sandal straps with incredible detail.
The statue is housed in a special Tribunal room inside the gallery where it has stood since 1873 when it was moved from the Piazza della Signoria outside Palazzo Vecchio. The room is a rotunda with natural light and surrounded by glass to protect the sculpture from the hordes of visitors that flock to see him.
There are many reasons to visit the Accademia and its other fantastic works of art but seeing the David should be the priority. Taking a guided tour of the museum is recommended to cut out long lines and save time. A tour will also help you discover the background story of the David, including Michelangelo’s doubt that his masterpiece would stand or how he chose to make David’s feet unproportional to ensure it was stable.
Is the David on display for visitors?
As the David is one of the most famous sculptures in the world, it’s a must-see for any art lover. It is a powerful symbol of Renaissance art and the human form, and is an inspiration for generations to come.
While many people head straight for the exit once they see the statue, it is well worth the ticket price to spend some time in the Accademia and explore other works of art. If you have little ones, bring some art paper and ask them to draw their own David interpretation.
The museum director and mayor both expressed their shock over the ruckus and invited the school board, parents, and students to visit. They say that to think the David is pornographic “means truly not understanding the content of the Bible, not understanding western culture, and not understanding Renaissance art.” (Source: AP) The original David was intended to adorn the roof space of the Duomo but was eventually installed outside Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria.
What is the David’s story?
Michelangelo’s 17 foot-tall marble statue is a testament to his artistic genius and to the power of faith. His sculpture depicts David before he slew Goliath, the giant that taunted the Israelite army and was killed by a small Israelite soldier (1 Samuel 17).
When viewing the statue, it is easy to see why it has become known as one of the world’s foremost works of art. The veins in his well-proportioned body look almost alive and give you a sense of fluidity and movement within the unyielding marble.
Visitors can see the David in a round room that was specifically designed for the statue by architect Emilio de Fabris. The room is well-lit with a sky roof and features glass walls that protect the statue from being touched and damaged by hammers (the toes of the left foot were fractured in the 1990s). The gallery also houses a number of other unfinished sculptures that Michelangelo created later in his life.