(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)
David (front view)1430s
Bronze, height 158 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
Donatello's slightly smaller than life-sized bronze David was most likely commissioned by Cosimo de' Medici and it stood on a column in the courtyard of the Medici palace in Florence. The sleekly sensual depiction of the adolescent David, who stands in a languid pose, his left foot carelessly resting on Goliath's severed head, is remarkable for its naturalism. Donatello departed, however, from familiar images of David by presenting him nude, in the manner of a classical ephebe or slim, pre-pubescent boy. The unusual representation of the David, departing as it does from the biblical text and from classical forms of heroism, suggest that Donatello intended to convey more than just the narrative of David and Goliath. This lead to recent interpretations of the figure's purported androgyny, his sexuality and his homoerotic charge.