22 January 2007

Look Right!

They're all called David.

From left to right youve got Donatello 1428-1432, Verrocchio 1465-1470, Michelangelo 1501-1504, and Bernini 1632. That they all appear to be looking to the right is an odd coincidence. If you click the picture you'll be able to view a much bigger, lovelier image.

Anyway, what you see up there is 200 years worth of Florentine self-conceptualization. David, the city's symbol, certainly went through a lot during those years. He grew up for one. Donatello's bored, navel-gazing little boy ends up as Bernini's feisty hero, one good twist away from slaying Goliath and losing his delicate drapery. I have no idea what Verrocchio was thinking. David looks down-right feminine, like a cheerleader. After the first two, your first thought on seeing Michelangelo's might be "Where's the decapitated head?" The first two are self contained statements: David victorious. Michelangelo's David looks to the left, preparing to cast the stone. The statue is directed outward, only depicting half the story. Same with the Bernini. David's posture implies that Goliath is on the receiving end of his sling.


Josh said...

the donatello looks like a pimp.

it seems like we were shown the bernini in my art apprec. class as an example of neo-classicism.

Mary Ann said...

The Bernini is Baroque, but I'm no expert on either Neo-calssical or Baroque, so I'm just trusting my source there. Although my interest has long been occupied elsewhere, I would do well to become familiar with the differences between these periods.

I really have a hard time understanding why the people of Florence would have allowed themselves to be represented in the ways Verrocchio and Donatello came up with. Sheesh. The Bernini is my favorite. I don't think a person can look at Michelangelo's for more that 10 seconds before it just looks like a complete mutant.

Josh said...

i can't look at the michelangelo for more than 10 seconds without feeling dirty

Mary Ann said...

Why? I mean, I could guess, but if I did, I'd come up with something like this: you feel dirty because after the statue's recent cleaning, David is immaculate.