On September 8th, 1504, one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, Statue of David, was unveiled in Italy’s Piazza Della Signoria. The glorious 17-foot marble sculpture portrays a naked David contemplating his upcoming battle with Goliath. Unlike previous depictions that portray his victory over his enemy, this sculpture shows his apprehension and anxiety.
The sculpture had been commissioned in 1464 by the Opera del Duomo. It was supposed to be part of a series of statues that were to be placed on Florence Cathedral’s roofline. Agostino di Duccio’s original sculptor, whose lack of experience saw him select a marble block full of tiny holes, visible veins, and other major imperfections. Duccio quickly realized his error and dropped the project.
Antonio Rossellino took over after ten years but also deemed the marble block unusable. It lays in Opera del Duomo’s courtyard for an additional 25 years before Michelangelo convinced the authorities that he could finish the job.
A 26-year-old Michelangelo began working on a statue that his predecessors had chiseled, chipped, and considered unworkable. Fortunately, he was able to transform it into a perfectly imperfect piece of art. This art piece is perhaps what makes him one of the greatest sculptors that ever lived.
After its completion, the Cathedral Vestry Board, which included Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, felt that the David was too striking not to showcase. As a result, it was placed in Piazza Della Signoria, a public square, until it was later moved to Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873.