In the late 1400s, Florence Cathedral, consisting of the woolen guild the Arte Della Lana, decided to make a series of twelve Old Testament sculptures. These sculptures were intended for the buttresses of the Florence Cathedral. The first statue was a figure of Joshua made by Donatello in 1410. The next was Hercules, also built under Donatello's direction. In 1464 it was the time to create David. The first sculptor that touched a block of marble was Agostino, but he only could make the shape of the legs and torso. After him, Antonio Rossellino tried to complete the sculpture, but he couldn't do it either.
Finally, Michelangelo took this giant block of stone in his hands. On 16 August 1501, after getting an official contract, he started working on David. Sculpting the massive statue of David took more than two years.
In June 1504, after David was completed, the sculpture replaced Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes in the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio.
Interpretation of David
Michelangelo’s David and the pose of him was a new and different vision from Renaissance depictions of David.If David was always represented as a victorious hero, a man who defeated the Goliath, Michelangelo sculpted David before the battle with Goliath. The statue shows David, who has just made a decision to fight with Goliath, and thus he looks tensed and worried. David, in his left hand, is holding a sling, draped over his shoulder. On the right-hand David has a rock. The turn of the head, the placement of the feet, muscles, and veins, everything shows that the statue is in movement.
Proportions of the body are not typical for Michelangelo. The man who knew the human body very well made David's head and arms very large and the genitals small. The original placement of the sculpture should have been the roofline of the cathedral, and this fact could have been a reason for these enlargements. The height of the statue is 5,17 meters.
David has become a symbol of youth and strength.