Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Donatello's bronze statue of David (circa 1440s) is notable as the first unsupported standing work in bronze cast since classical times. It created a sensation when it was first shown, due to its portrayal of the nude young male. It depicts the young David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath's severed head just after killing the giant. The youth is standing naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, bearing the sword of Goliath.
The exact date of creation is unknown, but widely disputed, and dates vary between 1430 to the more accepted 1440s.1. Donatello had made a marble statue of David in 1408/1409, though this figure was a well-dressed and victorious king holding his sling-shot, having not yet slain the giant. His effeminate physique serves both to establish him as the lover of Jonathan and that he did not conquer Goliath through physical prowess, but the will of God. The boy's nakedness further enhances the idea of the presence of God, constrasting with the heavily-armoured giant.
It originally belonged to Cosimo de' Medici, and was placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Medici in Florence. After the expulsion of Piero de' Medici, it was confiscated, and ordered placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo della Signoria. It is now in the Bargello. There is a full-size plaster cast (with broken sword) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
- Greenhalgh, M., Donatello and His Sources, London, Duckworth, 1982, p. 166
External Links: Images of David
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