Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Most people know the story of David and Goliath, right?  Goliath was this terrible giant, and David was a little guy, but David managed to defeat his fearsome rival nevertheless.

In 1502, Michelangelo asked if he could use a block of marble that was laying around spare, so from then until 1504 he sculpted, out of that solid marble, the statue of David that would become as world famous as the Mona Lisa.  

Michelangelo's original sculpture of David stands proudly at the end of a corridor inside the Galleria dell'Accademia here in Florence.  I think Michelangelo did a good job of it, but it was Jean who was really moved by it.  It stands, I think, about two and a half metres tall, upon a base of about two metres high.  We had a good look.  David's right leg stands against a small tree trunk.  Recently, the Galleria has discovered a tiny crack in the trunk, and it is monitoring this carefully. 

The Galleria holds impressive collections of 15th and 16th century paintings, and some from the 14th century.  There are also Russian icon paintings.  The Galleria also holds many plaster sculptures.  Photographs are not allowed anywhere inside the Galleria dell'Accademia.  So, most people flock to the Piazza Signoria, where there is a marble copy of the original.  There is also a bronze copy on the top of Plazzale Michelangelo, the hill that offers sweeping views of Florence, where we were yesterday.

Florentines seem pretty proud of their David.  He is seen all over the city in the myriad tourist shops and stalls in the squares.  He's for sale on the Ponte Vecchio, and in crude sale points at train stations.  Marketers have zeroed in on a certain part of David's anatomy.  It's on aprons, tea towels, and especially boxer shorts.  Not sure what the attraction is, but there you are.

Marble copy of Michelangelo's original 
David in Piazza Signoria

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