The sculpture depicts the biblical hero, David, as he prepares himself to fight the giant, Goliath. David looks tense, his body turned and eyebrows knitted together in a frown. In his left-hand, he holds onto a sling which hangs over his left shoulder. In the story, David uses this sling-shot to defeat Goliath, hitting him on the temple with a stone and knocking him to the ground.
David is depicted as a classically-beautiful, standing male nude. He adopts a contraposto pose, with his weight supported on his right leg, and his left bent at the knee. The pose causes the figure's hips to tilt at an opposite angle to the shoulders, giving the entire torso an elegant S-curve. The contraposto is highlighted by the differing positions of David's arms, and by the turn of his head. Unlike earlier depictions of David, which show him as a young boy, Michelangelo's sculpture casts him as a strong, muscular man. The figure has been idealised, and was clearly inspired by ancient, as well as Renaissance, sculpture. The beauty of Michelangelo's David has been perfectly recreated in this piece.
While Michelangelo's David was designed to be viewed from below — it was intended to be positioned on the roof of Florence Cathedral — this marble sculpture was designed to be viewed at eye-level. This means that, in this version, David's features, particularly his hands and head, are in proportion with the rest of his body and not enlarged as they are in Michelangelo's piece.
Artist / Maker
After Buonarroti, Michelangelo (Italian, 1475-1564)