The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

“David” by Michelangelo

'David' by Michelangelo Fir JBU002

“David” by Michelangelo

“David” by Michelangelo was completed in 1504 and depicts the Biblical hero David, who killed the giant Goliath with a rock from his sling, during the war between Israel and the Philistines. David is represented before his battle with Goliath, tense and ready for combat, Michelangelo has captured the moment between decision and action.

David’s brow is focused, his neck tense, his veins are bulge out, he holds a sling that is draped over his shoulder in his left hand, and he holds a rock in his right-hand. The twist of his body conveys motion and is achieved with the contrapposto technique developed by the Greeks for their standing heroic male nude. The figure stands with one leg holding its full weight and the other leg forward. Michelangelo has emphasised the contrapposto technique by the turn of the head to the left, and by the contrasting positions of the arms.

'David' by Michelangelo Fir JBU013

David was initially commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral. However due to the more than six-ton weight it could not be placed on the roof of the cathedral. David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence. David the giant-killer had long been seen as a political symbol in Florence. The statue came to symbolise the civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state which had powerful rivals. The eyes of David, with his steady glare, were turned towards Rome.


A replica of David now stands outside the Palazzo Vecchio

In 1873, the statue of David was removed from the piazza, to protect it from damage, and displayed in the Accademia Gallery and a replica was placed in the Piazza in 1910.



  • Title:                        David
  • Artist:                      Michelangelo
  • Year:                        1501–04
  • Materials:               Marble
  • Dimensions            Height: 5.17-metre (17.0 ft)
  • Museum:                Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, Italy


  • Name:                     Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
  • Born:                      1475 – Caprese near Arezzo, Republic of Florence
  • Died:                       1564 (aged 88) – Rome, Papal States (present-day Italy)
  • Notable works:


“There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” Leonardo da Vinci



Photo Credit: By Jörg Bittner Unna (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2)By Jörg Bittner Unna (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons   3)By Arnaud 25 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons