The possibilities for a work of art to charm and fascinate lovers of art seem to be infinite. When the said work of art is Michelangelo's world renowned David, everyone is ready to be enraptured. But what is it about this particular scuplture as opposed to thousands of others that sets it apart? How has David become so well recognized and embraced by everyone from Renaissance scholars to tattoo artists? How can a 16th century sculpture of a Biblical figure manage to be an icon of perseverance against terrorism, health and body image issues, as well as the environment, all at the same time?
|Michelangelo, David, 1504|
"David von Michelangelo" by Rico Heil
|Joaquim Cruz, |
Tattoo of Michelangelo's David, 2011
Pintrest @Tattoo Power
We tend to associate the David with perfection but the marble it was carved from was far from it. Even the story of the marble itself and the culture surrounding quarrying of marble, from the mountains that produced it to its eventual transport from the mountainside to Florence has been conveyed with great detail. According to Victor Coonin "the simple reason why this imperfect block from Fantiscritti became the great David is that it did something that no such other block had done since antiquity. It allowed itself to be successfully cut from its mountainside womb."1
Each stage in the life of the David seems to have been a point of contention between different officials, artists, critics, the public. Where David should be placed, who owned it, how it should be moved, what it should stand on? Names of the individuals involved at each stage of the project, official documents, contracts included to frame the timeline, grounds this work in scholarly research while making it easily accessible not only to art historians but to everyone. By providing historical background on David's different 'homes', Coonin takes the reader on an art historical journey through the most important sites in Florence. In the final chapter of From Marble to Flesh: the last section"Cloning the David through the 21st Century and Beyond" brings the story of David to our present day.
|Serkan Ozkaya, David (inspired by Michelangelo), Louisville, 2012||(Photo by Jae Grady)|
I really enjoyed From Marble to Flesh: The Biography of Michelangelo's David and would recommend it to anyone interested in art or history. I want to thank Alexandra Korey and The Florentine Press for providing a review copy of this book.
1 A. Victor Coonin, From Marble to Flesh: The Biography of Michelangelo's David, (Florence: The Florentine Press, 2014) 56, ePub for iBooks
2 Ibid., p. 300