David

David
Artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Year 1623-1624
Medium Marble Sculpture
Location Galleria Borghese, Rome
Dimensions 67 in
170 cm
Gian Lorenzo Bernini Artworks
Apollo and Daphne
David
Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Bust of Louis XIV
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
Medusa
Complete Works

David is a life sized sculpture of stone made by the Italian artist Bernini in a matter of seven months. David portrays the story of David and Goliath unlike any other work of art that portrayed the same biblical character. Although coerced into creating this marble three dimensional statue of David, Bernini created a true masterpiece.

Carving of a Masterpiece

He stands alert, his brow creased with concentration. His mouth frowns in grimacing detail as his right arm reaches behind him to put a stone in the sling held by his other hand. Deep lines of concentration show the alertness of the young man as he stands poised and ready to defeat his foe. At his feet rests his harp and the armor he removed and cast aside. The antique iconography used to depict the image of David as it is foretold in the Old Testament is truly a unique art piece that is so lifelike that the viewer can envision the story unfold.

The Commission

Bernini received the commission to carve the statue of David from Cardinal Scipione Borghese, Bernini’s patron. The statue was to be used to decorate the patrons’ villa. Bernini was working on the Apollo and Daphne sculpture at this time and knew if he accepted the commission his present project would be unfinished. Bernini studied the Bible passages regarding David and Goliath and he studied the various artworks of David from other artists. After some time he decided to accept the commission to carve a statue of David and set to work creating a realistic life size replica of David. In 1624 after just seven months, his intricately detailed carving of the Biblical David was completed.

David Comes to Life

Bernini meticulously carved exquisite detail into every feature of his depiction of David. The face of David shows a crease of his frown, the facial contortions indicate deep concentration, his blue eyes ever on his opponent. David’s armor; cast carelessly aside at his feet creates the feeling of apprehension as the young man bravely faces the giant. One can almost hear the grunts of his efforts as he slings the stone that brings the giant Goliath down and ends the war between the Philistines and the Israelites. The marble statue can be viewed from any angle and from all sides, yet no matter the angle viewed the observer can easily envision the battle this young man was about to engage in. David has been just one of this Italian artists’ many masterpieces. The fine detail, the lifelike features and the subject’s emotions are all very vivid and realistic in this Italian artist’s works.

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