The David’s of the World Sometime soon after the year 1430, a bronze statue of David stood in the courtyard of the house of the Medici. The work was commissioned of Donatello by Cosimo d’Medici himself, the founding father of the Republic of Florence. It was the first free-standing, life sized nude since classical victorious athletes of Greece and Rome. But soft, and some how oddly unheroic. And the incongruity of the heads: of hair and shaded by a laurel-crowned peasant’s hat; Goliath’s tragic, contorted expression, made sharper by the pentagonal helmet and coarse, disheveled beard. Innocence and evil. The weak triumphing over the strong. The city of Florence triumphing over the aggressive dukes of Milan? “David” as a civic-public monument. In the year 1469, Ser Piero from the Tuscan town of Vinci moved to Florence to become a notary. He rented a house on the Piazza San Firenze, not far from the Palazzo Vecchio. His son, who was a mere 17 years old upon their arrival, began and apprenticeship in the Florentine studio of the well known artist, Andrea Verrocchio. At this time, Veracchio was at work on a bronze sculpture of the young David. Might the head of this fine piece be a portrait of the young Leonardo da Vinci? For many years a block of marble lay untouched, tossed aside as unusable, irretrievable evidence of a botched attempt to carve a human form. It was eighteen feet high. A young sculptor, 26 years old, riding high after the enormous success of his figure of the Virgin Mary holding the dead Christ, decided to ask for the piece. The wardens of the city in charge of such things let the artist have it. What did they have to lose? Getting anything out of it was better than nothing. So this young sculptor named Michelangelo measured and calculated. He mad a wax model of David with a sling in his hand. And he worked on his David continuously for some three years, until, a man named Vasari tells us, he brought it to per…

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