Your Guide to Viewing Michelangelo's David at Accademia Gallery, Florence

David is a Renaissance masterpiece created by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. The marble statue of a standing nude male representing the Biblical hero David is widely considered one of Michelangelo's greatest works and a symbol of Renaissance art.

Timeline of Michelangelo's David

  • 1501: Michelangelo is commissioned by the Operai (Board of Works) of the Cathedral of Florence to create a statue of David, to be placed on the roof of the cathedral.
  • 1501-1504: Michelangelo works on the statue, carving it from a single block of marble.
  • 1504: The statue is completed, and it is unveiled in Piazza della Signoria on September 8.
  • 1508: The statue is moved from its original location to the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio for safekeeping during political turmoil.
  • 1516: The statue returns to its original home at Piazza della Signoria
  • 1873: The statue is moved to the Accademia Gallery, where it remains today. A replica is erected in Piazza della Signoria.
  • 1991: The statue undergoes a major restoration, including cleaning and repairs to the marble.
  • 2003: The statue is moved to a specially designed gallery within the Accademia to better protect it from damage and pollution.

Where is the Statue of David Located?

David of Michelangelo

Can I See the David?

Yes, the David is on display for visitors at the Galleria dell'Accademia. To view the statue, visitors need to purchase a ticket to enter the museum

It is recommended to book tickets in advance as it’s one of the most famous and visited works of art in the world, attracting millions of visitors to the Accademia Gallery each year. Guided tours of the museum are also available, offering information about this biblical statue and the artist who created it. 

How to View the David at Accademia Gallery?

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Who Created the Sculpture of David?

David of Michelangelo

The sculpture of David was created by Michelangelo Buonarroti, a renowned Italian artist. Michelangelo was a versatile artist who excelled in several art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry. 

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, and his works are considered masterpieces of the Renaissance era. Michelangelo's most famous works include the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Pieta, and the David statue. 

He was also responsible for several architectural projects, including the design of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Michelangelo's works have had a lasting impact on the art world and continue to inspire and amaze people to this day.

History of the Statue of David in a Nutshell

Statue of david

Creation

The statue of David was commissioned by the governing body of the Cathedral of Florence, to adorn the roofline of the cathedral. The original plan was to award the commission to Agostino di Duccio, but eventually, Michelangelo, who was only 26 years old at the time, was tasked with creating the statue in 1501. While the exact reason why the statue was commissioned is not clear, it is believed that it was intended to represent the spirit of Florence during a time of political and social turmoil.

David statue Palazzo della Signoria

Initial Rejection

Once, the statue was completed, it was considered too large and unconventional for the cathedral roof and was placed in the square in front of the Palazzo della Signoria, the town hall of Florence. The placement of the statue in the public square was a deliberate choice by the officials of the city, who wanted to showcase the power and independence of Florence through the statue's symbolism of the biblical hero David.

Statue of David

Public Adoration

Despite its initial rejection, the statue quickly became a popular symbol of Florentine freedom and was celebrated by the public. Its heroic depiction of David, standing tall and confident with his slingshot over his shoulder, was seen as a symbol of Florence's strength and independence. Today, it is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance art, admired for its perfect proportions, lifelike details, and emotional intensity.

David of Michelangelo

Relocation

In 1815, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III, decided to move the statue from its original location in the Piazza della Signoria to the Accademia Gallery, a museum and art school that he had established. The move was partly motivated by concerns about the statue's preservation and partly by a desire to elevate the statue's status from a public monument to a work of art deserving of more scholarly attention and protection. The statue remains on display at the museum to this day.

Description of the Statue of David

David of Michelangelo

The statue of David stands 17 feet tall and depicts a standing male nude, representing the Biblical hero David ready for his battle against his adversary, Goliath. One of the most striking features of the statue is its size. David is depicted as a powerful, yet graceful figure, towering over the viewer. Michelangelo masterfully captured the human form, showcasing David's muscles, veins, and tendons in incredible detail. The folds of his garment, the straps of his sandals, and the intricate details of his hair and beard are also all beautifully crafted.

The statue is also renowned for its incredible sense of balance and proportion. Michelangelo carefully positioned David's weight over his left leg, creating a sense of movement and tension that sets the figure apart from other sculptures of the time.

Meaning of the Statue of David 

The statue of David has been the subject of much interpretation and symbolism over the centuries. Some of the key meanings and interpretations associated with the statue include:

David of Michelangelo

Biblical Hero

David is a prominent figure in the Bible, known for defeating the giant Goliath with a single stone from his sling. He has been seen as a symbol of courage, strength, and faith in God. In the statue of David, Michelangelo depicts the young hero just before his famous battle with the giant, holding a slingshot, and ready for battle. The statue thus symbolizes David's bravery and faith, and the triumph of good over evil.

Statue David of Michelangelo

Political Symbolism

The statue of David was commissioned during a time of political and social turmoil in Florence, and it was intended to represent the spirit of the city. David, as a symbol of strength and courage, was seen as a fitting representation of Florence's freedom and defiance against foreign powers and tyrants. The statue was placed in a public square in Florence, where it became a powerful symbol of Florentine freedom and independence.

Statue of David by Michelangelo

Artistic Masterpiece

The statue showcases the human form in incredible detail, from the muscles and veins to the folds of the garment, and is considered a masterpiece of anatomy and proportion. Michelangelo's expert handling of the marble medium and his skillful rendering of the human form have made the statue a benchmark of artistic achievement. The statue's perfect proportions, lifelike details, emotional intensity, and the level of craftsmanship that has gone into its creation are some of the reasons why it has come to be seen as a masterpiece of Renaissance art and a symbol of the ideal human form.

David of Michelangelo

Expression of Renaissance Ideals

The statue of David reflects the ideals of the Renaissance, including individualism, humanism, and classical influences. Its portrayal of the human form as an object of beauty and perfection with its idealized physique and noble bearing represents the human potential for greatness and the humanist belief in the importance of the individual. It represents a turning point in Western art and culture, away from the more formal, stylized forms of the Middle Ages and towards a more naturalistic, individualistic approach

Interesting Facts About the Statue of David

David of Michelangelo
  1. Michelangelo was only 26 years old when he began work on the statue of David.
  2. It is made of a single block of Carrara marble and stands 17 feet tall.
  3. The statue of David was the first full-frontal naked statue since classical antiquity.
  4. The statue was originally intended for the Florence Cathedral but was placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria instead.
  5. The statue was nearly destroyed during the 16th century but was saved and placed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873.
  6. The statue was originally painted in bright colors, but these have since faded over time.
  7. The statue of David continues to be an important symbol of Florentine independence and a symbol of the ideals of the Renaissance.
  8. The left hand of the statue was originally positioned to hold a stone, but the stone was never carved.

The Statue of David Today

The statue of David remains one of the most famous and iconic sculptures in the world. It continues to be a symbol of Renaissance art and an embodiment of the human form. The statue is a major tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of people every year. 

It is considered a must-see for anyone visiting Florence and is a testament to the cultural and artistic heritage of Italy. The statue is housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where visitors can admire its intricate design, powerful form, and rich history.

Frequently Asked Questions About Michelangelo’s David

Q. What is Michelangelo’s David?

A. Michelangelo's David is a 17-foot-tall marble statue created by the renowned artist Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. It depicts the Biblical hero David, ready to face Goliath, and is widely recognized as a masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Q. Where is the statue of David located?

A. The iconic statue of David, renowned for its awe-inspiring form, is housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. The statue attracts many visitors annually who come to view this masterpiece and learn about its rich history. Those visiting Florence have the opportunity to witness this iconic work of art and appreciate its beauty at the Accademia Gallery.

Q. Can I see Michelangelo’s David?

A. Definitely! Michelangelo's David is on display at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, and is open for viewing to all visitors. You can come and witness this iconic masterpiece for yourself and learn about its rich history.

Q. Who created the statue of David?

A. Michelangelo, one of the most famous artists in history, created the statue of David. He is widely considered a master of Renaissance art and is renowned for his sculptures, paintings, and architectural works. The statue speaks of his talent and remains a celebrated work of art to this day.

Q. How long did it take to carve David?

A. Michelangelo worked on the statue of David for approximately three years, from 1501 to 1504. During this time, he meticulously crafted the marble statue into the masterpiece that it is today.

Q. What did Michelangelo say about the Statue of David?

A. Michelangelo is said to have commented on the statue of David by saying "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." This quote highlights Michelangelo's unique approach to art, as he believed that the statue already existed within the marble block and his job was to reveal it. 

Q. When was the statue of David created?

A. The statue of David took Michelangelo approximately three years, from 1501 to 1504.

Q. What is Michelangelo’s David worth today?

A. With estimates ranging from $100 million to a staggering three hundred million, insurance companies have even gone so far as to place its value at an astounding seven hundred million! Of course, given the immense historical significance and cultural heritage it carries, it is safe to say the true price tag of such an iconic monument cannot be measured.

Q. Why is the statue of David so famous?

A. The statue of David is a true masterpiece of Renaissance art, showcasing Michelangelo's extraordinary skill and talent. Commissioned by the city of Florence during a time of political and social upheaval, it has come to symbolize the city's resilience and strength. Finally, the statue of David is known for the idealized depiction of the human form that has inspired countless artists.

Q. What is the story of Michelangelo's David?

A. Michelangelo's famous statue depicts the story of David from the Bible, who triumphs over the giant Goliath with a single stone from his sling. It stands as a symbol of human courage, determination, and strength, and is a highly regarded work of Renaissance art.

Q. Is the Statue of David anatomically correct?

A. The statue of David is considered anatomically correct, with accurate depictions of muscle, bone structure, and proportional measurements. Michelangelo's attention to detail and mastery of anatomy made the statue a pinnacle of Renaissance art.

Q. What is Michelangelo's David holding in his hand?

A. Michelangelo's David is depicted holding a slingshot in his right hand, ready to defeat the giant Goliath. The slingshot represents David's bravery and determination and highlights the statue's central theme of the triumph of the human spirit.

Q. Why is the statue of David controversial?

A. The atatue of David has been controversial due to its nudity, which was deemed inappropriate in a time when nudity in art was not widely accepted. Some have also criticized its depiction of a biblical hero in a sexually suggestive pose, while others see it as a masterpiece that celebrates the human form.

Q. Why was Michelangelo's David attacked?

A. The statue of David has been targeted for various reasons over the centuries. In 1991 when a man named Piero Cannata attacked the statue with a hammer, causing damage to its toes. Cannata claimed that he was inspired by a painting by Veronese. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to a mental institution.

Q. Was Michelangelo's David damaged?

A. Michelangelo's David has undergone some damage over time but has been restored multiple times. A chip in his heel is the most notable damage, caused by a vandal in 1991. Additionally, weathering and general wear and tear have caused some discoloration and damage to the marble over time. Despite this, the statue remains in remarkable condition and continues to be a symbol of Renaissance art.

Q. Why are there two statues of David?

A. Michelangelo's original David statue was moved from Piazza della Signoria in Florence to Accademia Gallery in 1873 for preservation. A replica was then placed in Piazza della Signoria, where the original once stood, to maintain the historic significance and cultural heritage.

Q. Where is the real David statue?

A. The original David statue by Michelangelo is located in the Trubine, a museum hall inside the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy.

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