MICHELANGELO'S DAVID - Explains the steps that michelangelo took to complete the work for David, gives detailed features of the sculpture, explains how it became the symbol of the city

Essay by Caspernova295High School, 10th gradeA+, January 2004

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Between the years of 1501 and 1504, the great Michelangelo created what is considered to be the most spectacular work of sculpture ever conceived. At the young age of twenty-seven, a few years after completion of the Madonna Della Pietà , Michelangelo was commissioned by the Operai of the Cathedral for a statue of David, which he later carved from a huge chunk of white, unflawed marble. The gigantic sculpture portrays David not as a young boy, as in those imagined by Donatello and Verrocchio, but rather as an ideal adolescent who has reached manhood, gazing off into the distance, preparing to encounter the enemy Goliath. David is portrayed as a "most beautiful animal preparing to kill-not by savagery and brute force, but by intellect and skill." The character of David and what he represents describe Michelangelo's patriotic feelings at the time, as Florence was going through a rough period.

In this way, he uses David as a model of courage for the people of Florence, and demonstrates through David that inner spiritual and intellectual strength can be used to conquer enemies more effectively than weapons and brute strength.

Michelangelo was born on March 6th, 1475, in Caprese, Italy, a small town outside of Florence. Although born in the small village of Caprese, he always considered himself a "son of Florence," as did his father, the mayor, "a Citizen of Florence." His father, being the mayor, encouraged him to become a successful merchant or businessman to preserve what remained of the Buonarroti fortunes. But Michelangelo, preoccupied with art, agreed to apprentice in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, a prominent Florentine painter, at the age of thirteen. Michelangelo soon became unsatisfied working in this workshop, because many artists would not teach him their artistic secrets. So he went to study...