David (Bernini)

David
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1623-1624
Marble
Rome, Galleria Borghese
This article is about the sculpture David by Bernini. For other sculptures, see David (disambiguation)


Bernini's David (1623-24) is a life-size marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Collected by Bernini's main patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese, it is now in the Galleria Borghese.

Style

Compared to prior sculptural representations of David, this represents a stunningly novel[1], revolutionary interpretation. Like Bernini's near contemporary statue of Apollo and Daphne, this work is paradigmatic of the sculptors' Baroque style: stressing unsettled dynamism and emotion over classic placidness. These qualities distinguish this David from the well-known, almost iconic representations by past Florentine masters: the serenely confident high-Renaissance David by Michelangelo, the haughty effeteness of the post-battle bronze or marble Davids by Donatello[2], or the Quattrocento version by Verrocchio.

Unlike the vertical emphasis of earlier statues, Bernini's sculpture coils in his original plinth[3], hunched and poised to release his rock. Bernini's David develops the kinetic energy required to kill Goliath; however, in a metaphorical sense, it represents a conceit that confronts a sculptor trying to encapsulate this moment: the challenge of making rigid stone convey movement.

Unlike the placid serenity of prior statues, the furrowed forehead and granite grimace of this David underscore Bernini's interest in displaying emotion in sculpture. Bernini does not epitomize a numinous ideal warrior, but an individual soldier, struggling to achieve his goal. Below David are discarded armor, underscoring that this is not a story about a victory gained by superior weaponry, but one gained by a straining physical effort. The disguised harp at his feet recalls that David, while depicted as a warrior, will become a poet (that is, an artist) in his own right.

Unlike prior sculptures, Bernini's David is not a boy, he appears to be the eldest representation of all the Italian sculptures mentioned above; however he is the depiction of a man about to change his life and history. Donatello's David, for example, is already victorious, and stands heroic and self-confident. In political terms, it was an apt metaphor for a Florentine republic (if not an artist) that saw itself (or himself) as the artistic apogee of Italy. Bernini's David, on the other hand, exudes a Counter-Reformation combativeness, and perhaps the feistiness of a young sculptor clawing upwards to pre-eminence not only among his fellow sculptors, but also attempting to culminate a history of Renaissance sculpture.

Sources

  • Avery, Charles, and David Finn, Bernini: Genius of the Baroque, A Bullfinch Press Book, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1997
  • Post, Chandler Rathfon, A History of European and American Sculpture From the Earliest Christian Period to the Present Day, Volume II, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1921
  • Wittkower, Rudolph, Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, Phaidon Press, London, 1997

Notes

1. ^ Humanities and the American Literature Teacher, by Elizabeth A. Kessler. The English Journal (1985) p54
2. ^ Donatello David
3. ^ Galleria Borghese photo

External links

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome.
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Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications.
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Comune di Roma

Flag
Seal
Nickname: "The Eternal City"
Motto: "Senatus Populusque Romanus" (SPQR)   (Latin)
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Galleria Borghese

Established 1903
Location Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy
Director Anna Coliva
Website www.galleriaborghese.
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Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome.
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Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome.
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David(c.1005–970 BC) (Hebrew: דָּוִד, Standard  
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Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome.
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Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1576 - october 2, 1633) was an Italian Renaissance prelate, art collector and member of the noble Borghese family.

Biography

Originally named Scipione Caffarelli, he was born in Rome, the son of Francisco Caffarelli and Ortensia Borghese.
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Galleria Borghese

Established 1903
Location Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy
Director Anna Coliva
Website www.galleriaborghese.
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Baroque was a Western cultural epoch, commencing roughly at the turn of the 17th century in Rome, that was exemplified by drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music..
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David, sculpted from 1501 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of Michelangelo's two greatest works of sculpture, along with the Pietà.
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Donatello

Statue of Donatello outside the Uffizi, Florence
Birth name Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi
c. 1386
Florence
Died 13 December 1466
Florence
Florentine
Field Sculpture
Lorenzo Ghiberti

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The cultural and artistic events of 15th century Italy are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (from the Italian for '400, or from "millequattrocento," 1400). Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic) and the
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David was most likely made between 1473 and 1475. It was commissioned by the Medici family. It is sometimes claimed that Verrocchio modelled the statue after a handsome pupil in his workshop, the young Leonardo da Vinci.
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Numinous (IPA:/ˈnuːmənəs/ or /ˈnjuːmənəs/) is a Latin term coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe that which is
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The Counter-Reformation (also Catholic Reformation[1][1] or Catholic Revival[1]) denotes the period of Catholic revival from the pontificate of Pope Pius IV in 1560 to the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648.
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