David (Donatello)

David (Donatello)

Artist Donatello

Date ca. 1420s-60s

Movement Italian Renaissance

Medium Bronze

Dimensions height 5’2.25″

Housed at Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence


A young David stands triumphantly over the severed head of Goliath, wielding the too-large sword of the giant. Certainly Donatello may have decided to render this figure in the nude in the style of Classical heroes; however, David’s sinuous, refined form, along with his hat and boots that almost seem to emphasize his nudity, create a sexual element that has sparked much controversy and debate. In part, this may be due to the fact that this work may have been the first life-size nude created since antiquity. The purpose and meaning of this statue’s rendering and placement in the Palazzo Medici are still unclear to this day.