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Michelangelo's David




Michelangelo was an Italian artist who lived in Florence during the early modern period. He is most famous for painting inside the Sistine Chapel and his connections to the Medici family. Due to their presence in the wool and banking industry, the Medicis were among the wealthiest families during the late 1200s and 1300s. The patriarch was Cosimo de Medici, the first person in the family to have a political career. Cosimo was a patron of the arts and commissioned many famous works of art, one being the Duomo. His grandson, Lorenzo de Medici, used most of his money to enjoy art and founding an informal academy in his home. This academy was held in a house known as the “Medici Palace.” At this academy, intellectuals from all over Europe would discuss Greco-Roman topics. Many of the most influential people from the Renaissance spent time there. This included Donatella, Leonardo de Vinci, and Michelangelo. 

One of Michelangelo’s most well-known artworks is his statue, David. The statue was originally meant to sit on the top of the Duomo in Florence, but it was too heavy and difficult to get up. Instead, it was placed in front of the cathedral. It depicts David from the Story of David and Goliath in the Bible. In this story, David fights a giant, Goliath, with only a slingshot and stones. Surprisingly, David ends up killing Goliath with these stones. 

This statue is a prime example of humanism and idealism, both topics focused on at the Medici Palace. Humanism was the central philosophy of the Renaissance. A primary principle of humanism is the idea of “reaching your full potential.” This is reflected in the story when David can beat someone much larger and stronger than him. Here, he is fulfilling his potential. Humanists also loved Greek and Roman culture. The art style is very much Greek, shown explicitly by the man leaning to the side, a standard pose in Greek sculpture. Parts of the statue that represent the theme of idealism are the nude body and David’s “ideal body type.” 

Art is a reflection of the thoughts and principles of the artists’ who made the piece. In this case, David represe

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