Statues of David I Choose Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1455 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The right side shows David's movement, his stride is almost a leap as he aims his sling; seen from the front the pose is frozen, just one second before the fatal shot, and seen diagonally there is a rhythmic balance between movement and pose."

Contrary to Michaelangelo where David is self-sustained, here we have David, an unseen Goliath in the distance and the spectator who is caught in the middle, sandwiched as it were between David and the invisible Goliath.

A discussion of Similarities and differences

Similarities

Both Bernini's and Michaelangelo's David's are life-size statues and both opposed conventions by having their David in alternate poses to that of previous statues.

Aside from the fact that both are statues and both portray the same saga, both are also replete with symbolism. Michaelangelo's David is symbolic of a David poised to fight against Florence's enemies and warning them away. Goliath, too, represents the Medici family, who were ousted five years prior to the statue's commissioning. Bernini's David, on the other hand, alludes to his first hoped-for triumph in the world of Art. You have the harp, of David symbolic of the hero's creative craft that was symbolic of Bernini's creative craft too. On the harp is engraved the head of an eagle, which represents it's commissioners, the Borghese family. David's face, too, was actually modelled on that of Bernini's own:

'Bernini chose to sculpture the face of David, resembling his own, since as David in his time -- he was facing his first and crucial test -- one which if he successfully achieves -- will win him... fame for generations. (Shaked, 2003, http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Choir/4792/david.htm )

Both David and Bernini were young and both starting their career - according to the Biblical account - at a similar age; both their feet, therefore, were poised into the future.

Both are similar too, ironically enough, in that they fail to adhere to an authentic Biblical account. David did not take his harp into war, for instance; his bag was not full of stones; he did have a stick which none of the artists included.

Differences

The primary difference to Bernini's statue is that Michaelangelo's David stands in a contemplative pose prior to action with slingshot slung over shoulder. He is contemplating his foe, getting ready for working, considering the situation.

Bernini's David, on the other hand, stands in the conventional active pose of "having a go" at his opponent. This was the traditional pose of David and one that both earlier and later actors largely assumed.

Michelangelo's David is self-sustained in his own 'bauble' of existence, whilst the David of Bernini interacts with space, being partially art partially real life - with his toe even stepping oven the plinth -- and compelling the spectator to be a part of his existence. Michaelangelo's David can be viewed from the side; Bernini's David is three-dimensional with his body assuming different perspectives according tot the viewer's position.

Michelangelo's David, too stand prior to the act. Bernini's David is in the midst of accomplishing his act. He involves the spectator in his action.

A minor difference exists in David's attire. Michaelangelo's David is fully nude, a state of affairs that shocked Britain's Queen Victoria to the extent that the plaster cast of David at the Victoria and Albert Museum had a detachable plaster fig leaf which covered David's penis prior to royal visits during her reign (V&A).

In short, the two Davids, that of Bernini and that of Michaelangelo, show certain similarities as well as great differences. The primary difference is that the one is contemplative whilst the other is active. Both are in different stages of the battle and Bernini's 3-dimensional active David draws the spectator into the fray.

Sources

Hibbard, H. (1974) Michelangelo, New York: Harper & Row, 1974

Hibbard, Howard (1965). Bernini. Baltimore: Penguin Books.

Hughes, A (1997) Michelangelo, London: Phaidon

Preimesberger, Rudolf (1985). "Themes from art theory in the early works of Bernini." In Lavin, Irving. Gianlorenzo Bernini: New Aspects of His Art and Thought, a Commemorative Volume. University Park & London: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 1 -- 24.

Shaked, Guy. (2003 ). Hidden symbolisms in Bernini's statue of 'David fighting Goliath', http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Choir/4792/david.htm

Web Gallery of Art (WGA). (1996).Bernini, Gian Lorenzo http://www.wga.hu/html/b/bernini/gianlore/sculptur/1 620/david.html).

V&A David's fig leaf, perhaps by D. Brucciani & Co., about 1857

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/d/davids-fig-leaf/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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