joy magnetism: That David thing




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Sunday, August 1, 2010

That David thing

Magnet #891 - Michaelangelo's David

I debated on using this David magnet for joy magnetism, but then I realized you know what? It's considered one of the world's masterpieces. It's art. Deal with it.

We had a bit of a tough time of it in Florence last year, our first day being the worst. day. ever. Everyone was fighting. No one wanted to be there. And on top of that, God gave us some torrential rainshowers to deal with. In the middle of the day, with little coverage and only a few umbrellas between us.

Oh, my, it was just miserable. It was that day that I vowed to see what I could of Florence, because dadgumit, I was never coming back to town again.

So, a couple of days later, when my mom said, tiredly and clearly at the end of her rope, I really don't want to go see "that David thing." But we all said, "Hold up. We're here. We're in the neighborhood. Hells yeah, we're going to see 'that David thing.'" And so we did.

Can I tell ya'll? And there's really no way to say it without it sounding dirrty, but honestly, I had no idea how big David was. Everyone talks about Michelangelo and you've seen his work online and on tv and in books, and you sort of vaguely understand and accept that he's one of the greatest artists that the world has ever known. But, until you actually see his work, you just don't really get it.

So when you go to the Galleria dell'Accademia, and you turn the corner and you see David for the very first time from afar, down the long hallway, your breath just catches.

I mean, Michaelangelo sculpted this 16-foot (or 17, depending on who you believe) fine specimen of man from one piece of old, remaindered marble. One! Piece! It took him about three years, from 1501-1504. Dudes. That's more than FIVE hundred years ago!

And yet, here David stands proudly in this magnificent gallery space, all by his lonesome, save for the dozens of onlookers (uplookers)? examining every inch of his almost perfect body atop his giant pedestal. I say almost perfect because supposedly, the piece was conceived to be an outdoor sculpture, hence the larger than scale hands and feet. Oh! And according to the Accademia site, if you look at David's face head on, his eyes are actually looking in two different directions. Honestly, once you see the guy up close, all the way to his veins in his hands, forearms and legs, you just appreciate those other imperfections, as utter perfection.

So, yeah. If you get a chance to go to Florence, drop by and see that David thing. Mom didn't regret going in the end.

As for me, the best part about the visit was the sheer fascination the piece held for my dad. He's always loved to see how things are made, and has so much respect for workmanship that goes into any craft - whether it's building megabridges or building a simple wood cabinet. Watching him appreciate and study David was a lovely thing to see.

No kidding, in the couple of hours we spent there, we couldn't really tear him away from it. He must have walked around the statue a good dozen times, coming up with new details on every trip. We did, too, just to I Spy every detail. Right down to David's thing.

What? I couldn't help myself. I know it's art, but I just read that some companies who offer replicas of the piece actually offer a fig leaf, free of charge, for those who want to censor themselves. I mean, what?
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2 comments:

jen said...

I second the vote for Worst. Day. Ever. But seeing David was super cool.

Gin said...

One of my favorite tidbits about Michelangelo was that he believed that the forms of the statues were always trapped inside the stone and that it was his job to set them free. All he had to do was chip away everything that didn't belong.

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."