Over 1.6 million tickets were sold to see The David last year. Tourists and art fanatics fly from all over the world to see this legendary statue in person.
There are some little-known facts about this intriguing piece of art that most don’t know.
Typical questions about it include: where is The David located? Why was he built? And, who built him?
However, the truth about The David is far more fascinating than these basic questions allude. To learn the real history and insider scoop on The David, keep reading.
Who is David?
The David was designed to capture the appearance and essence of David from the Bible. The first book of Saul details the battle between David and Goliath.
There was a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines happening in the Valley of Elah. Every day, the Philistines would send out their massive, champion fighter to compete against someone from the Israelites’ side.
One day, a young shepherd from the Philistines decided to step up to the plate against Goliath. He was too small for the armor, so went with just his sling and five rocks.
While it seemed clear that Goliath would win, the story goes that David had his faith in God in addition to his sling and rocks. With one slingshot hit to Goliath’s head, and David won the battle.
David became a Biblical legend and a crucial part of religious and non-religious culture. The David and Goliath narrative is regularly used in television, movies, books, and more.
Why Was The David Created?
Flash forward to the 15th century, the owners of the Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy, commission an art project for the Duomo of Florence.
They wanted 12 human figures to adorn the outside of the cathedral. They had a marble block brought to Florence from Carrera. Various artists attempted to work with the block, but they found it challenging due to its imperfections.
In 1501, Michelangelo was one of the most beloved and in-demand sculptures. He was only 26 years old, but he had carved a career for himself by carving stones into art.
He took on the challenge and created The David from the giant block of imperfect marble. Instead of making a triumphant post-battle David, he made a humble yet faithful pre-battle David.
While the commissioners expected something great, no one was prepared for the breathtaking beauty that Michelangelo created.
Where is The David Located?
The David was sculpted in an outdoor courtyard in Florence. However, the commissioners were unsure of where to place him permanently. The original project of 12 human figures for the Duomo wasn’t the right place for this magnificent piece.
They decided to move him to Piazza della Signoria. There, Michelangelo put on the finishing touches.
The David was finally moved to his current home at the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873. This museum houses some of the finest Italian Renaissance art.
Besides Michelangelo’s work, you can also see pieces by Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Sarto, and Pontormo.
The museum is in the Historic Centre of Florence and attracts millions of visitors each year.
Interesting Facts About The David
Many people know the basic facts about this sculpture. However, there’s much more to this stone art than meets the eye.
For instance, viewers marvel at the perfect proportions of David’s body. It’s like a human man was frozen into a statue. What you might not notice, however, is that his right hand is slightly bigger than his left.
His head is also slightly too large for his body. Some say that Michelangelo did this intentionally to emphasize his concentration. His larger right hand symbolized the action he was about to take.
There are three sculptures of The David in Florence. The infamous piece by Michelangelo is in the Galleria. The others are in Duomo Square and Piazzale Michelangelo.
Before Michelangelo began working on The David, the block of marble was called “The Giant”. This name was likely given by the other artists who attempted to work on it and the tedious, strenuous effort it took to move.
Tips for Seeing The David
No trip to Florence is complete without seeing the statue of David in person. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
However, because this is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Italy, it’s best to learn some tips for planning your visit.
The Galleria is open every day of the week except Mondays. It opens at 8:15 in the morning and closes at 6:15 in the afternoon. You must buy a ticket to enter the museum and lines are often quite long.
You can get into the museum for free on the first Sunday of every month. However, the best way to skip the lines to buy a guided tour ticket.
Plus, guided tours offer you more information about The David than a self-guided walk-through does. You can learn about this masterpiece from the experts.
What’s Nearby the Museum?
When planning your trip to Florence, combine multiple nearby attractions into your itinerary. Unless you’re spending weeks there, you’ll need to see the most important spots in a short amount of time.
The most efficient way to see everything is on a guided tour. There are many tours that take you through different neighborhoods in Florence. You’ll see the best attractions in each and enjoy the unique energies.
Near the museum in the Historic Centre of Florence are many other museums worth seeing. There’s the Istituto Galilei, the Basilica Della Santissima Annunziata, and the Museo de San Marco.
You’ll need to pause your touring to eat and sample some of Florence’s best cuisine. Consider stopping at Il Porcospino for amazing pizza and lasagna.
Ready to Plan Your Trip to See The David?
You should now know the answers to basic questions such as “where is The David located?” and “Why was he built?” In addition to interesting facts about the statue, you now know the best tips for seeing it in person.
For more things to do in and around Florence, visit our Travel page.