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Sunday, 14 September 2014

David (Michelangelo)

In 1501, the city government of Florence commissioned sculptor and painter, Michelangelo Buonarotti to create a statue of the Old Testament king of Israel, David, as part of a series of statues meant to adorn the roofline of Florence's cathedral dome.

Michelangelo unveiled his 13ft high stone carving on September 8, 1504. Michelangelio's David astounded the public with it's realism. Every muscle and vein of its subject is shown.

Michelangelo's patrons were so overwhelmed by David's beauty that they decided to scrap the plan to place it on the cathedral dome. Instead, it was located where it could be appreciated up close, outside Florence's government offices in the Palazzo Della Signoria.

Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense 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 supremacy of the Medici family.  Protesters pelted it with stones the year it debuted, and, in 1527, an anti-Medici riot resulted in its left arm being broken into three pieces.

The statue of David's right hand is too big for his body. It is believed this is Michelangelo's nod to David's nickname, manu fortis—strong of hand.

The statue was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.

On September 14, 1991, Italian artist Piero Cannata attacked the statue with a small hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket; in the process of damaging the toes of the left foot, he was restrained.

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