Michelangelo's David As An Example Of Renaissance Sculpture

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The statue of David is a world-renowned statue created by the Renaissance artist and sculptor Michaelangelo from 1501-1504. This statue stands massive at 17 feet tall, carved from a solid block of white marble, weighing in at an enormous weight of 12,478 pounds or 6 tons. This beautiful sculpture is host to many outstanding features of aesthetics, including the visual elements of art, the cultural style of the High Renaissance period Italian artists, the use of a biblical character and story, and many more exquisite features that make this sculpture stand out to art enthusiasts around the world throughout centuries and makes it commonly referred to as the most magnificent sculpture of all time. The statue depicts the biblical figure, David, after he decides to fight Goliath, moments before he goes into battle, as he holds his slingshot hanging over his left shoulder, and is currently being held at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy.

First of all, I believe that one of the prominent features that make this statue stand out as one of the best sculptures ever made is the way that Michelangelo made this statue look almost too realistic in the fine details of David’s body. For example, David has tremendously subtle veins that protrude from his forearm and neck that are exceptionally similar to how veins appear on real humans. However, some elements are not as realistic as other things; for example, David’s hands and head are slightly out of proportion, compared to the other parts of his body. I believe that the reason that Michelangelo did this was because many people are viewing this statue from far away and below, so he wanted to account for the people viewing in this way by making the upper body, head, and hands bigger in proportion than other body parts.

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The first outstanding feature of this sculpture I will explain is the stance of contrapposto, the act of displaying standing figures with opposite alternations of tension and relaxation around a central axis, which Michaelangelo took from the Early Classic Greek sculptures created around 510 BCE to 323 BCE. The element of contrapposto adds a sense of relaxation in the David statue, by making it look as if he is leaning slightly to his right side, with his slingshot hanging over his left shoulder before going into battle to kill Goliath. The use of contrapposto also makes the statue look more realistic to the viewer, with the use of an extremely realistic and naturalistic stance that people often do when they are relaxing or nonchalantly standing. But, there is an underlying feature of David that counteracts the use of the relaxing contrapposto stance, David’s body is all tense. If you look closely, David’s veins pop out of his forearm and hand, and his furrowed brow as if he is focusing on something and his whole body is the complete opposite of relaxed and calm. This statue portrays David right before going into battle, so it can be interpreted as David being ready to fight the mighty Goliath with his slingshot.

One primary visual element of art that is prominently used in this renaissance sculpture is form. The form in this statue of David is extraordinarily organic and free-flowing, with the curves of muscles and flesh, which bring a lot of realism to the statue. The sculpture also has a massive form, standing at over 17 feet tall and around 6 and a half feet wide, making it one of the biggest marble statues in existence today. Along with form, this sculpture also uses the authentic color of the marble it was carved in, meaning it was never painted, because if it were ever painted, the paint would not have worn off by now.

This statue significantly represents the cultural and artistic style of the Renaissance by using Humanism, Greco-Roman style art, and by portraying the human body in the most accurate way possible. This gigantic sculpture uses the concept of Humanism beautifully in the way that David looks like he is deciding how he should go into the battle with Goliath, and he is doing it in an extremely smart and sophisticated manner. This ties into humanism because David isn’t being hasteful or ignorant in his actions, he is intelligently rationing out what he should do, showing the humanistic belief that humans are capable of more than any other being on earth. The David statue portrays the Greco-Roman art style with not only the amazing use of contrapposto, the use of marble, but it also uses the nude, ideal male body similarly to how some of the Greco-Roman style statues used it many centuries ago.


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