A Comparison Of Michelangelo's And Donatello's Sculptures Of David

1342 words - 5 pages

A Comparison of Michelangelo's and Donatello's Sculptures of David

Michelangelo and Donatello were the most respected and inspiring artists of their time. Michelangelo of the High Renaissance and Donatello of the Early Renaissance both hailed from Italy. Both tell the biblical story of David versus Goliath, as told in I Samuel 17:28-51, in their sculptures "David." David was a Shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath with nothing but a slingshot in his hands. Michelangelo displays David before the battle while Donatello shows David after the battle with Goliath. Michelangelo and Donatello were two of four famous artists who have created a statue depicting their image of David; Bernini and Andrea del Verrocchio were the others, but Michelangelo's and Donatello's were far more famous.

Donatello had a more detailed and wide-ranging knowledge of ancient sculpture than any other artist of his day. Some time between 1404 and 1407, he became a member of the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti, who taught Donatello how to sculpt in bronze. Donatello, the first to create a statue of David, did so between the years of 1430-1440. This bronze figure was life-size at 5'2½" and was nude, which was done for the first time that we know of since antiquity. 4David is seen with a feminine body structure that serves both as a possible explanation for Jonathan's love for him as well as to show that David's accomplishment in tossing the stone at Goliath was not a result of his feminine physic, but rather of God's will. 1Donatello was a very homosexual person and might have drawn upon it in his characterization of David. 1The sophistication of the gleaming bronze, together with David's self-absorption, feminine pose, and slime, graceful, adolescent form, reinforces the narcissism of the homosexuality quality of the statue. Although David is nude, he is not completely nude. He wears a mercury hat and what appears to be boots on his legs. 4Being mainly a practical garment of the lower classes, the hat has many varieties and shapes according to different regions. The laurel on the top of the hat is the symbol for a victorious general in roman times. 4Peasants, shepherds and many others working in the fields wore these hats to protect them from the sun. Since David came from the hot desert to battle Goliath, it is appropriate for David to be wearing indeed clothes for hot weather. It is still uncertain whether the boots David wears are military gear or shepherd's boots. There is no reason for David to be wearing military footgear since he was too weak to carry the additional armor he was offered before the fight. In David's left hand, you can see him holding onto the stone that was cast at Goliath. With his right hand, David leans on Goliath's sword of which he used to cut off the giant's head and stab him. The sword represents God's role in this story; David would be too weak to carry the sword alone. This statue was originally placed at the...

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