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Fig. 22.13 (left) David, 1501–4, by Michelangelo, marble, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. At over three times life size, this was the first time such a monumental freestanding statue had been seen since Roman times.


Fig. 22.14 (above) Apollo Belvedere, The Vatican, Rome


The upward-looking viewpoint would have caused distortions, so Michelangelo deliberately adjusted the proportions to counteract this.


David’s pose and gesture echo that of Venus from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (see Fig. 20.4). Michelangelo spent time in the Medici household and would have known Botticelli.


Influences


The turn of the head in a contrapposto pose suggests that Apollo Belvedere (Fig. 22.14), discovered in Rome in the late 1400s, may have been an influence. Influences can also be seen in the pose and furrowed brow of Donatello’s St George (see Fig. 18.5).


A tomb for Pope Julius


Shortly afterwards, the newly elected Pope Julius II summoned Michelangelo to Rome. He wanted a huge freestanding tomb that would occupy a prominent position in the new St Peter’s.


CHAPTER 22: A GOLDEN AGE 267 David, symbol of Florence


The Signoria were so impressed with David that they placed the symbolic figure in the main square of the city, the Piazza del Signoria. It was removed for safety in the 19th century to a special room in the Accademia. Today, a copy has replaced it outside of the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall).


EUROPEAN ART


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