Friday, February 24, 2012

David: Bernini (1624)

Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born in Naples on December 7, 1598. He died in Rome on November 28, 1680. He finished his first important sculpture in 1615 at the very young age of 16.

Bernini started his sculpture of David in 1623. He finished it a year later. One hundred twenty years earlier, Michelangelo had finished his sculpture of David.

Michelangelo’s David is more like Goliath in size. He is over 17 feet (over 5 meters) tall. Bernini’s David is much more our size at only 67 inches (170 cm) in height.

Michelangelo’s David looks much more heroic than we do. He looks very strong, brave, and in control of his feelings. Bernini’s David looks much more like us. He is our size, brave (of course), but also shows strong feelings like we do.

Michelangelo shows David at the quiet moment just before he starts to move toward Goliath. Bernini shows David in the very act of slinging his deadly stone toward Goliath.

Michelangelo and Bernini: two sculptors from the same place but living and working in very different times. They made two Davids: one heroic, one much more ordinary, but both shortly before their moment of triumph.

Today we may see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. We may see Bernini's David at the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.