The sculptures of David in Florence amidst history and symbol

A project conceived by the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and the Bargello Museums in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts, the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Municipality of Florence.

Last Thursday 30 March, at the Teatro Niccolini, the project “The Sculptures of David in Florence Amidst History and Symbol” was officially shown to the public.

Guided by the voices of museum directors Cecilie Hollberg (Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze) and Paola D’Agostino (Musei del Bargello), together with Monsignor Timothy Verdon (Artistic director of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo), Ilaria Ciseri (curator and art historian for the Bargello Museums), Claudio Rocca (Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence) and Tommaso Sacchi (former councilor for culture for the Municipality of Florence), the video film explores the historical-artistic, technical and elements behind the commissioning of 5 marble and bronze sculptures depicting David; all masterpieces by Andrea Pisano, Donatello, Verrocchio and Michelangelo.

“The Sculptures of David in Florence Amidst History and Symbol” aims to retrace and enrich the links that hold these works together. The aim is to advance the historical and artistic knowledge surrounding the image of David, as well as to enhance the cultural heritage of the Florentine area.

The Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral houses the first statue representing David, a work in marble from 1336 created by Andrea Pisano for the main facade of Giotto’s Bell Tower. The biblical hero is portrayed in his prime, depicted as a poet holding the scroll of the first of the Psalms in his hands.
The Bargello National Museum is the repository for three seminal statues of the David for the iconography and stylistic development of the image: two by Donatello – the youthful David in marble, dating from 1408-1409, and Donatello’s famous bronze David from about 1440, the first statuary nude since the times of Ancient Rome. Together with these two masterpieces is the David by Andrea del Verrocchio, also in bronze, made between 1472-1475.
Instead, Michelangelo’s David, created between 1501 and the beginning of 1504, is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and is recognized as an icon of Renaissance art throughout the world.
The Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore is involved in this project not only as the “guardian” of Pisano’s first David, but above all as the “client” that commissioned the Davids in marble by Donatello and by Michelangelo. Both works were originally intended to be erected on the spurs of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, and after various events and episodes both were transferred; the first to the Bargello National Museum and the latter to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.
Additionally, the three successive nineteenth-century copies of Michelangelo’s David are also found in Florence: one, in Piazza della Signoria on the arengario of Palazzo Vecchio the seat of the Municipality of Florence and sculpted in the in marble by Luigi Arrighetti; another in bronze in the center of Piazzale Michelangelo, the work of Clemente Papi, also author of the third, a plaster cast in the Plaster Cast Gallery (Gipsoteca )of the Porta Romana Art Institute in Florence.

The project initiated in the spring of 2020, a dramatic moment for the whole world due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting global emergency.
The filming and creation of the video began in the autumn of 2020 was carried by the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence in collaboration with the students in the school’s Audiovisual Department, directed by Juri Ciani and Giovanni Grimaudo.






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