Michelangelo's DAVID

Denis Molodkin

Moscow, Russian Federation

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TUSCANY – “Dolce Vita” in an Old Land

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

From Wikipedia

The Palazzo Vecchio (Italian pronunciation: [paˈlattso ˈvɛkkjo] “Old Palace”) is the town hall of Florence, Italy. This massive, Romanesque, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, it is one of the most significant public places in Italy.

Originally called the Palazzo della Signoria, after the Signoria of Florence, the ruling body of the Republic of Florence, it was also given several other names: Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo dei Priori, and Palazzo Ducale, in accordance with the varying use of the palace during its long history. The building acquired its current name when the Medici duke’s residence was moved across the Arno to the Palazzo Pitti.

Above the front entrance door, there is a notable ornamental marble frontispiece, dating from 1528. In the middle, flanked by two gilded lions, is the Monogram of Christ, surrounded by a glory, above the text (in Latin): “Rex Regum et Dominus Dominantium” (translation: “Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. This text dates from 1851 and does not replace an earlier text by Savonarola3 as mentioned in guidebooks. Between 1529 and 1851 they were concealed behind a large shield with the grand-ducal coat of arms.

Michelangelo’s David also stood at the entrance from its completion in 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. A replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place, flanked by Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus.

“David” is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created during the time period from 1501 to 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. The 5.17 metre (17 feet) marble statue portrays the Biblical hero David during a moment of contemplation. The most widely accepted interpretation is that the statue represents David immediately before his battle with Goliath, unlike previous depictions which portray the hero after his victory. The statue came to symbolise the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. This interpretation was encouraged by the original setting of the sculpture outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence. The completed sculpture was unveiled on 8 September, 1504. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.

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