146x80x72 cm

The plaster cast of the head of Michelangelo’s David.

Having completed his Pietà in Rome, Michelangelo returned to Florence where

he was commissioned to carve a statue of David. The sculpture was originally intended to be on a pillar of the Duomo. Agostino di Duccio had previously been commissioned to carve the marble block. In 1501, having been commissioned by the Arte della Lana, the wool guild of Florence, Michelangelo began carving the work from an enormous block of Carrara marble. His classicising statue was a departure from traditional portrayals of David as a biblical hero. Instead of depicting a victorious David with Goliath’s severed head at his feet, he carved a resolute youth preparing for battle. More than five meters in height, the shepherd boy David, standing in perfect contrapposto, was completed in 1504 and was immediately acclaimed by the city fathers of Florence, who, contrary to the original plan, insisted on the statue being placed on the main piazza in front of the Palazzo Vecchio rather than in the Duomo. In 1873, the sculpture was moved to the Accademia di Belle Arti (now known as the Galleria dell’Accademia) and a marble copy was placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Many replicas have been made of the celebrated statue. Yet, given the dimensions of the original, only a very few life-size plaster casts have been made, most casts being of David’s head alone.