VERROCCHIO, Andrea del
(b. 1435, Firenze, d. 1488, Venezia)

The Young David

Bronze, height 125 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

This statue was commissioned by the Medici family and it was sold by them in 1476 to the Signoria, the ruling body of Florence, and placed in the Palazzo Vecchio, thus gaining a republican meaning similar to Donatello's David. Here the similarity ends. There is no doubt that Verrocchio's proud hero was capable of slaying the giant. The explicitness and angularity contrast with the ambiguity and sensuousness of Donatello's - nude and vulnerable while Verrocchio's is elegantly clothed. He carries a small sword in one hand and, with his other confidently poised on his hip, looks triumphantly out at the viewer. The figure, to be viewed in the round, lacks the anatomical exaggerations and the psychological implications or complexity of Donatello's. It is, rather, perfectly chased and was meant to be appreciated for its exquisite patina.

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)