The Three David Statues


The paper explores the three David's statues which are situated in different locations in Italy. The three statues of David are artworks of four different artists who are Bernini, Michelangelo, and Donatello. The paper also has the brief history of each of the four artists. In addition, the paper also compares and contrasts different artworks from different artists with accordance to how artwork meant to each artist, the tools that were used, and how artwork was accomplished.


The three statues of David were modeled as representations of a biblical hero the king David of Israel who in his young age killed a hero warrior goliath armed with only a stone and a swirl. The three statues are different from each other in that they were of different periods and used different materials to develop the statue. However, the statues are also different from each other in dressing codes and body posture. All the three statues were developed in Italy and that's where they are found and serve as tourist attraction sites.

Brief History of the Artist, Donatello

Donatello is also known as Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi.  He was born in 1386 in Florence, Italy. He is famous for his sculptural works in Italy and especially the David's scripture in Florence, Italy. He is also said to have made brass pulpits for Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo which is believed to have been built by Brunelleschi. Also, he is referred to be one of the earliest artists of renaissance period who worked through the perspective of ideology.  He used sculptural method to bring dramatic images and shapes to life. However, he died aged one hundred years in 1489. He is well remembered for his artwork which is seen and studied (Post,p.65).

Brief History of the Artist, Michelangelo

Michelangelo was born on 6th march, 1475 in Caprese village in Italy. He is one of the famous artists of renaissance period, which is believed to be a period of the evolvement of artwork in Italy. However, when he attained the age of twelve, he became an apprentice painter to a professional painter of Florentine, Domenico Ghirlandaio who orientated him to painting. Later on he began to study sculptural work in which he well flourished. He is famous for his work in the modeling of a marble statue which represents Virgin Mary grieving over dead Jesus' body. He also worked on the David's statue between 1501and 1504 which stands at the height of 4.34m/14 ft 3. The statue is placed outside Palazzo Vecchio. It is currently viewed as a symbol of new republic which replaced Medici rule. However, Michelangelo died at the age of eighty nine in 1564. He left behind significant statues which serve as his memoirs (Wittkower,p.32).

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Brief History of the Italian Artist, Bernini

He was born in 1598 in Rome, Italy. He was a dominant figure of renaissance period in which he had specialized in sculptural and architectural work. However, his father orientated him in the sculptural work from which he gained experience and got a work in Rome. He is famous for his work in the statues of David, Apollo, and Daphne. More also, he is believe to have designed the monument of the ornate baldachin and marble decorations found in St. Peter's square. He died in 1680 at the age of eighty two.

Statue of David by Michelangelo

Interestingly, statue of David which wads modeled by Michelangelo is the most famous statue in the whole world and perhaps an important tourist attraction site in Italy. Michelangelo was commissioned to start the work on the statue in the year 1501 by Arte della Lana whose responsibility was to decorate the cathedral in Florence. A marble block was presented top him as a construction material which had earlier been prepared by Agostino di Duccio for the same purpose (Frederick,p.8).

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However, Michelangelo did not apply the traditional method of presenting David as a hero.  Rather he presented him as a youthful individual tensed with the sense of getting magical power in order to proceed for the battle. His representation is based on the moment when David heard that Israelites were afraid of Goliath that they hesitated mocking him. His statue is taken to be the most perfect heroic representation of David as compared with the other two statues of David by Bernini and Donatello.

In addition, the statue's right-hand side is smooth and well composed while the left-hand side is openly seen to be active and dynamic. He developed muscles and tendons only at the points where they can be interpreted to be perfect representation of strong will but not where they represent individual's form of self-governing. However, the artist used construction tools such as point, tooth, flat and craw chisels, and also scrapers and rasps for finishing. On the completion of the statue, committee of high ranked citizens and artists agreed that it was good for the statue to be placed in front of Palazzo Vecchio, which is the town hall of Florence (Frederick,p.8).

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Statue of David by Donatello

Donatello used his skills to prove himself a prominent artist of Renaissance period. He is believed to be one of the greatest artists of Florentine in the period who invented shallow relief technique in artwork. This technique helped in making his sculptures to be seen as deeply developed though at times developed at a shallow plane. He was influenced by ancient scriptures made by Greeks and theories of humanist. This made him to develop statues which were mainly the representations of human body as functioning organism in which personality radiates a confident individual (Balcarres,p.43).

His sculpture of David is the most famous representation of the artwork of fifteenth century. He represented David as a boastful hero as compared to Michelangelo who represented him as a humble hero. However, he did not represent him admiring the head of his victim, Goliath rather he is admiring his graceful, powerful body as a result of him winning the battle. This is one amongst many sculptures of the Renaissance art whereby admiration of self-worth was mainly the theme.

He was first commissioned to start the work in 1408 by Operai of the cathedral of Florence. The main aim of the Operai was to decorate buttress of the cathedral's tribune with statues of the twelve prophets. He used bronze marble as the construction material and tools such as flat, tooth, pointed chisels were used. However, the finished statue depicted David with a smile posed with his left foot on the goliath's head. More also, the youthful David is completely naked apart from laurel hat and boots. The finished was the first unsupported standing statue in the period. Additionally, the statue was faced by controversial moral debates which barred it from being put in the town hall of Florence (Radke,p.32).

Statue of David by Bernini

Bernini represented David as a life-size marble in his scripture. He was commissioned to decorate villa of his patron cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1623 and completed his work within seven months. However, his work was the subject of David throwing a stone to the giant, Goliath. The finished statue represented Bernini as a genius artist since he did not let his statue match with others which preceded his which represented David standing, self contained, and insulated (Avery,p.43).

His objective was tom come up with a dramatic and real biblical figure which he did. The viewer of the statue feels to be a part of David's move. He made a space in front of the statue which is seen to be part of the David's part. In addition, the immense tension of David's twisted body conveys the strength which he used to release the stone. He used marble as the construction material and chisels as main tools. Bernini spent the shortest to develop the statue which proves him to have been an energetic youth since he did the work while at the age of twenty four (Gardner,p.65).

Comparison and Contrast of Three Sculptures

All the three scriptures were modeled in different periods by different artists who used techniques and styles different from each other with the aim of presenting David as a hero. However, the three scriptures are similar in one way or the other. First, the three statues were based on biblical scripture on the moment when David was in a battle against the giant Goliath thus the objective of each artist was to represent David as a youthful hero considering that he was young at the moment. In addition each artist used marble and chisel as the construction material and tools as well (John,p.32).

However, each artist developed a statue which was different from each other as well. The first statue developed by Donatello represented David as a boastful hero who admired the physical power he had. Also, the statue brought a controversy which made it not to be put in front of town hall. The second statue by Michelangelo was perfect and represented David as a humble hero and was placed in front of the town hall where it serves as one of the major tourist attraction sites in Italy. The last statue by Bernini represented David as an energetic youth twisting his body hard to gain the required force of releasing the stone against the giant, Goliath (Hibbard,p.32).

More also, the three statues are different in dressing culture. The first statue which was made by Michelangelo represented David as a naked young man. However, this statue represents the culture of biblical communities as a culture of nakedness in which dressing was for the few in authority. In addition, the two statues by Bernini and Donatello represented David having dressed in the traditional attires which were worn by Israelites. 

In addition, the three statues have different postures. The statue of David by Michelangelo represented David in an upright posture, relaxed and having a heroic feeling after defeating the giant goliath. In contrast, the statue by Donatello represented him as a tensed young man stepping on the goliath's head which is an irony for a hero to be in a tense situation. More also, the statue by Bernini represented David as a courageous young man preparing hard for the battle by swirling the slanged stone towards the enemy, Goliath.

Furthermore, the three scriptures are located in different locations of Italy for different reasons. For instance, the statue by Michelangelo is located in front of Palazzo Vecchio town hall in Florence since it was recommended to be the best representation of David. In addition, the statue by Donatello is found in museums as a representation of renaissance art because of material, marble, which was used and also the belief that Donatello was one of the dominant artists of the period.

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Lastly, the artists made statues of different heights and based them on different time moments of David's participation in the battle. First, the statue by Donatello is 158 centimeters tall, Bernini's is 170 centimeters and Michelangelo's is the tallest measuring 517 centimeters tall. The statues by Donatello and Michelangelo were set in the moment after David defeated the enemy, Goliath whereas Bernini's statue was set at the period when he was throwing a stone against Goliath.



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