giovedì 11 aprile 2013

140 years from the moving of the David

Together with Botticelli's Venus, Michelangelo's David is one of the symbols of Florence, Renaissance and Italy, especially abroad. Not everybody knows though, that its position, the beautiful Tribuna inside the Accademia museum, was created in 1882 by the architect Emilio De Fabris, the same who carved the copy of the statue after the moving of the original from Piazza della Signoria in 1873 exactly 140 years ago.

For more than 3 centuries the marble prophet stood in front of the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, our city hall, exposed to weather, wars and revolutions. In 1527 during a civil riot the statue was hit and its left arm was broken in  three pieces and then restored wth its original pieces. In 1873 for obvious conservatory reasons the masterpiece was moved inside the Accademia museum where it could have been (almost) safe. In 1991, a deranged man attacked the statue with a hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket, damaging the toes of the left foot before being restrained.
David by Michelangelo, Galleria dell 'Accademia
Everybody look up with mouth open admiring the beauty, the mysterious eyes, the anatomical perfection and the ideal greek profile. The most frequent question is why isuch a big head and hands. Could it be a mistake? I don't think so. Michelangelo was commissioned in 1501 by the Florentine  Republic to realize prophet for the  buttresses of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. The point of view should have been much more lower than now, as the statue should have been positioned very high...that's why Michelangelo faked a bit the proportions especially those of the head and hands. On 12 November 2010, a fiberglass replica of the David was installed on the roofline of Santa Maria del Fiore for one day only. Photographs of the installation reveal the statue the way the Operai who commissioned the work originally expected it to be seen.

Legs and hips are so narrow as the block of marble given to Michelangelo was actually already carved by another sculptor, Agostino di Duccio who had difficulties in proceeding and abandoned the work that Michelangelo continued many years later. The block of marble was narrow and full of defects, little microscopical holes which still today can cause many problems to the statue.
At the lights of these considerations, Michelangelo's enterprise could be even more extraordinary.

David, replica by Emilio de Fabris  in front of Palazzo Vecchio

In 1504, when the 6 tons statue was finished, it could not be moved so high on the buttresses of the Cathedral, so a special commission which also included Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci decided to put it in front of the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio as a symbol of the civic virtues of Florence. The Medici family had been just chased out of the city and the Republic ruled by Pier Soderini just needed to show its strength and self confidence such as the young hero of the Bible showed challenging Goliath with his slingshot and his faith in God.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento