Monday, February 11, 2013

Italian Renaissance (pt. 26)

Donatello was a sculptor, like Michelangelo, and, also like Michelangelo, he sculpted a David.  Donatello's David, however, is considerably different from that of Michelangelo.  First of all, whereas Michelangelo takes up the scene before the action (his David is glaring ahead at Goliath, with the sling over his shoulder, preparing to slay him), Donatello picks up the scene after the action has taken place (this David is standing on Goliath's dismembered head).  As for appearance's sake, Donatello's is smaller and made of bronze.  The character of David himself is vastly different.  Donatello's David looks far younger than Michelangelo's (probably more accurate, in that area, to the real biblical story), and he looks much more effeminate.  This David has flowing hair that spills out of a wreathed hat, and his pose fails to be masculine.  One additional feature, the feather from Goliath's hat, more or less confirms the sexual connotation of the statue.  Florence, like Rome before it, did practice a degree of homosexuality, and inasmuch as Michelangelo's David was a celebration of the Florentine people as relating to their triumph over the Medici, Donatello's David was a celebration of the Florentine people as relating their…hm, carefree living, shall we say?  Scholars agree this is a blatantly sensual statue, and if you ask me, I say it's definitely suggestive enough.
Donatello's statue of St. Mark is an obvious reference back to Greco-Roman art.  St. Mark is standing in contrapposto, like Polyclitus's Spear Bearer.

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