The major difference between the three David’s is obviously the periods in which they were carved. Michelangelo’s was during the Renaissance, Bernini’s is Baroque, and Donatello carved his David during the Gothic period. Michelangelo’s David is very large in size, over fourteen feet tall. This makes him seem to loom over his admirers, and makes him a rather imposing figure. It is more than obvious that this David is naked, has no flaws, and seems to be in perfect health. The perfect man, if you will.
All of this is typical of the Renaissance period in which he was carved. Michelangelo’s David seems to be pondering something very important, perhaps the meaning of life? He is not in a hurry to do anything, and he is not rushing off to do anything. In fact, he hardly looks like the famed warrior who slayed a giant of a man. Bernini’s David, on the other hand, looks as though he is right in the middle of the famed battle with Goliath. You can just imagine the rock in his hand as being the very one with which he brought down the giant.
In Bernini’s statue, David has on some manner of clothing. It is not much more than a piece of cloth thrown over his private parts, but it still gives him some modesty, which is in keeping with the Baroque period. Something that makes Donatello’s David stand apart is the fact that he actually made TWO statues of David. The first was in 1408, and is made of marble. This marble representation is rather boring and traditional, and shows none of the innovative style that Donatello later exhibits.
The second David was done in bronze in the 1440’s, and is another nude – although this one is wearing a hat and boots. This later David is famous for two reasons. This statue is the first unsupported standing bronze ever, and it is also the first freestanding nude male statue made since antiquity. Another interesting fact about the Donatello David’s is that they both depict David standing with Goliath’s head on the ground between his feet.
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January 9, 2018
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