(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)


Marble, height 146 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

The statue was commissioned by the hated Papal Governor of Florence, Baccio Valori. Michelangelo used a pragmatic and political approach. This figure has had its double name for a long time, since it was not certain whether it was a representation of the Old Testament hero David or the Greek God of Art, Apollo. But in the round rock under the youth's foot one can probably recognize the head of Goliath: so once again Michelangelo has created a David.

There is a blatant difference between this figure and the one which in 1504 rose to the position of the most powerful symbol of the Republic. In the place of Strength and Wrath, we have Melancholy, almost Regret. The victorious hero no longer celebrates his triumph; the blood that has been shed seems to have shown him the meaning of his actions and of its consequences. Michelangelo could not have admonished Baccio Valori in a deeper, more meaningful and yet more respectful way.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 11 minutes):
Johann Kuhnau: The Fight between David and Goliath (No. 1 of the 6 Stories from the Bible illustrated in music)