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(1386 - 1466)
The Bronze David
Donatello’s David is featured in my adult story “On Display”.
Do not follow this link if you find sexual content offensive.
Soundbite: Lord Clark on Donatello’s David
(mp3, 22 seconds, 357k)
Artist Biography (alas, no longer with funky colours)
Donatello’s bronze David (c. 1430 - 1460??) is notable for being the first free-standing nude since Roman times. The statue’s sensuous appearance has aroused (sic) a great deal of comment over the centuries, including a highly provocative and thought-provoking poem by Randall Jarrell.
The statue’s androgyny has occasionally fuelled speculation that the figure might have originally been intended as female. Another theory is that it isn’t meant to depict David slaying Goliath at all, but rather Mercury slaying Argus. (Mercury is traditionally helmeted and sandalled, but his helmet and sandals are usually depicted as having wings, whereas in Donatello’s statue it is the youth’s victim who wears a feathered helmet.)
It has been claimed that the statue is based on perfect mathematical proportions, but it is impossible to prove this since the decoration on top of the helmet - a spike or plume - has been broken off at some point. Another plausible theory is that the statue originally stood in the middle of a courtyard fountain, a setting in which its nudity would have been seen as appropriate.
the fact that it was designed to be seen in the round, I thought it would be appropriate to include pictures showing the statue from all four sides, including the less commonly-seen back view. These images all link to bigger versions. And if that’s not enough for you, I’ve included thumbnails linking to even more views of the statue. (I guess some people might think the sheer number of images represented here is a bit obsessive. All I can say is that I wanted to include as many links as possible to high-quality images of the statue because I’ve seen far too many poor-quality ones.)
Numerous views of Donatello’s David:
Images updated June 2005
1. Right view | 2. Front view | 3. Front view | 4. Front view | | 5. Front view down to the knees (detail of 4) | 6. Front slightly left view | 7. Front left view | 8. Left view | 9. Back slightly left view | 10. Back slightly left view | 11. Back view | 12. Back right view | 13. Right view
14. Face, right profile | 15. Head and shoulders, front slightly right view | 16. Head and shoulders, front view | 17. Face, front left | 18. Buttocks and legs, left slightly back view
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Randall Jarrell’s Donatello Poem
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