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David by Donatello bronze sculpture statue

Finish: hand pantinated finish
Dimensions: 13.5" x 40.5" (34 x 103cm)
Item No. BE105
Period: Renaisanse
Condition: New


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Donatello’s bronze statue of David (circa 1440s) is notable as the first unsupported standing work in bronze cast during the Renaissance period, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It created a sensation when it was first shown, due to its portrayal of the nude young male. It depicts the young David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath’s severed head just after killing the giant. The youth is standing naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, bearing the sword of Goliath. The exact date of creation is unknown, but widely disputed, and dates vary between 1430 and the more accepted 1440s. Donatello had made a marble statue of David in 1408/1409, though this figure was a well-dressed and victorious king holding his sling, having slain the giant, Goliath’s head resting between his feet. The physical frailty and effeminate physique, which Mary McCarthy called “a transvestite’s and fetishist’s dream of alluring ambiguity,” contrasted with the absurdly large sword by his side shows that David has conquered Goliath not by physical prowess, but through the will of God. The boy’s nakedness further enhances the idea of the presence of God, contrasting the youth with the heavily-armoured giant. The figure’s contrapposto suggests that Goliath did not pose a threat to him. The statue originally belonged to Cosimo de’ Medici, and was placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Medici in Florence. After the expulsion of Piero de’ Medici, it was confiscated, and ordered placed in the courtyard of the Palazzo della Signoria. It is now in the Bargello. There is a full-size plaster cast (with a broken sword) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Other subsequent noted Italian statues of David are by Andrea del Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and Bernini.

Made of bronze (lost wax). "Lost Wax" bronze (or hot-cast bronze) is actually 100% pure Bronze - essentially copper and tin. The most known and used process for making "lost wax" involves pouring of molten bronze. This is the same method used by the ancient civilizations to create bronze sculptures. The making of a "lost wax" bronze is a complex and time consuming process, and specific technical expertise is needed to accomplish the task of making a bronze.

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