(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)
Bronze, height 158 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
As a free-standing, life-size nude - the first of the post-classical age - Donatello's bronze David is undoubtedly one of the most important sculptures of the Italian Early Renaissance. No matter from which side one approaches the work, one always sees a figure of extremely harmonious grace and almost playful lightness. Androgynous sensuality, pervading the whole figure, eclipses recollection of the recent battle with Goliath, upon whose severed head David has placed his foot. David's gaze, directed downwards, seems lost in thought and almost gentle. As Vasari remarked, Donatello appears to have based the figure less on the repertoire of forms in sculptural models than on a visualisation of a living body.