Artworks
David

Quick Fact

Contributor

This is the most famous sculpture in the world, and if you don’t recognize it, you probably live under the rock that is David’s foot.

This statue is of the biblical hero King David. Besides ruling over the people of Israel, he is best known for giving a beat down to the bully Goliath. Due to the power struggle in that infamous story, this statue is understood as a symbol for the defense of civil liberties.

The conception of this work started long before Michelangelo was even born. The Florence Cathedral was to commission twelve statues based off of the Old Testament to enhance their church. Interestingly, Michelangelo is not the only sculptor who chiseled away at this piece of marble. In fact, two other sculptors had worked on this piece before Michelangelo ever laid eyes on the chunk of rock that would soon become the most acclaimed sculpture in the world.

Michelangelo was a spry lad of 26 when he took on this gargantuan project, and it took him over two years to create this masterpiece. Legend has it that Michelangelo became so obsessed while creating this sculpture that he slept only sporadically and did so with his clothes and shoes on so that at any moment he could jump up and get back to his beloved David. Clearly his hard work paid off.

As giddy as the world is about this sculpture, it turns out you can’t please them all. In 1991, a man went HAM on poor David with a hammer and annihilated the toes on his left foot. Conservators have done a fine job of fastening his appendages back on, but the damage is still noticeable.

You may be thinking, wait a tick, I know a thing or two about penises and I am pretty sure that the Abrahamic faiths are not the biggest fans of foreskin. You are correct. So if this sculpture was designed to live inside of a cathedral, why is the blasphemous flesh still proudly affixed to David’s junk? Well, circumcision was different in the time of David as they used to remove only the tip of the foreskin, so it is actually accurate, historically speaking. If you want to have a good chuckle at the expense of David’s dong, check out this SNL skit about the unveiling of this sculpture. 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about David (Michelangelo)

David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft)marble statue of the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence.

David was originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, but was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. The statue was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.

Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about David (Michelangelo).