Talk:David (Michelangelo)

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Old discussion[edit]

It may be taller if you measure from the ground to the top of the statue on its current base, but the height of the statue itself is given as 4.1 m in several Michaelangelo references I have. Noel 01:21, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Would I be wrong in my recollection that the statue was originally commissioned to be placed at the top of the cathedral of Florence (hence the skewed proportions)? Jongo 00:36, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Absolutely not. The lantern by Verocchio was already in place, aside from the cultural and liturgical impossibilities. --Wetman 6 July 2005 09:15 (UTC)
It's not clear, actually. (I'm using Baldini, Sculpture of Michelangelo as a source here.) The original 1463-64 work on the block (with Agostino di Duccio) did call for the figure to be placed "on one of the buttresses of the Cathedral". However, when Michelangelo started work on it, this book mentions no pre-fixed location; indeed, once it was done, a committee of Florentine artists was formed to decide where to put it. (Hibbard, Michaelangelo is in basic agreement with all this.) Noel (talk) 20:44, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

...the statue was originally intended to be placed on a church facade or high pedestal, or even the top of the Eiffel Towe... This can't be correct! Can anyone elaborate? Mikkel 17:07, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Vandalism. Rv'd. Noel (talk) 20:44, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"is widely considered to be a masterpiece " If we're really that culturally insecure, let's drop the somewhat faded term "masterpiece." --Wetman 6 July 2005 09:15 (UTC)

Citation for the new information regarding the origins of marble from which David was carved:,11711,1558304,00.html

It probably needs to be added as a citation to the article that is about to be published in Elsevier's Journal of Archaeological Science, as described in The Guardian.


This article doesn't list any references, so can anyone recommend a book on the David? I'm looking for something with a detailed discussion on the anatomy of the David as the "perfect male form", along with pictures from many different angles.

Name change[edit]

The title of this article is out of keeping with usual practice on Wikipedia - the norm for articles on works of art where the artist's name has to be specified is, to take one example, 'The Birth of Venus (Botticelli)', not 'Botticelli's Birth of Venus'. I don’t see why there should be a different rule for works by Michelangelo, and the “Michelangelo’s” prefix, although it works with the David and Pietà, doesn’t work at all with others - ‘’Michelangelo’s Crucifix’’ for instance. Would there be any objections if the title were changed to David (Michelangelo)? Ham 11:23, 26 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can't see how anyone can make that argument if they know how those works are commonly referred to in English-speaking countries. "Michelangelo's David" is a very common way to refer to that specific work of art. Agreed, most are not referred to that way, but THAT one IS. Check google hits for "Michelangelo's David" vs. "Botticelli's Birth of Venus". In other words, 'Michelangelo' wasn't in the front just because somebody made a mistake with a 'necessary' disambiguation--it's because that's the common name for the friggin work of art. This was an exception to the way other Michelangelo (and other artist's) works are titled because of common use, not some arbitrary blindly following a standard that doesn't apply. 10:12, 15 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed, "Michelangelo's David" is in common usage, far more so than "David (Michelangelo)". My main objection is that giving this article that title caused "Michelangelo's ____" to be the standard for Wikipedia articles on his other sculptures, which are not as familiar and therefore resulted in some strange article titles indeed. After changing those titles to something more sensible, it would have been unencyclopaedic to treat David as an exception, although I'm fully aware that in the public imagination it is considered something above and apart from other works by lesser artists. Regards, Ham 14:20, 15 February 2006 (UTC). And cheers to Sparkit for making the change.Reply[reply]


Long time ago I have heard that Wool traders, which ordered this statue, came to see it when it was almost ready. They were so impressed by work of Michelangelo that they tripled Michelangelo's payment for the statue. I can not find now any information about this. If that is true, it would be a nice touch in the article.

Shattered Left Arm[edit]

According to The Agony and the Ecstasy (novel), Book 9 (The War), end of Chapter 3, during an attack on Florence (backed by the Pope to quell an attempt to restore the Republic of Florence) from the Duke of Urbino in 1525, the towns people threw furniture upon the cavalry. In the confusion, a wooden bench struck and snapped off the left arm of the David statue. The three detached pieces were kept in a chest in Cecchino Rossi's house. They must have be restored at a later date. [Close up of left arm.]

Indeed. Apparently Vasari wrote about this? -- (talk) 20:48, 19 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fig Leaf[edit]

I have a book of Photographs from the late 19th century, which shows this statue with a leaf over his penis. Do you know if this was added for the photo, or was it permanently attached

I really doubt the book put it in there. It was probably attached for the whole censorship movement, then taken off when people realized that sex is not the enemy. -- 15:54, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe that when it was first made, the Florentine Republican government (specifically Piero Soderini) covered it with the fig leaf. At that time, Florentine society was heavily influenced by the puritanical teachings of Girolamo Savonarola, and they were fairly prudish in that regard. Eventually the fig leaf was taken down. I don't remember where I read this, but if anyone finds a source, it should be noted in the article. --DLandTALK 19:34, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think I've read as much in Hibbert's book about the Medicis. I don't remember the title, and I don't have the book anymore. /roger.duprat.denmark —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 21 June 2007

Didn't the V&A have an exhibition some time ago consisting entirely of fig leaves that Victorians had put over the genitalia of numerous statues? I didn't see the exhibition but I did read a review of it in the paper at the time. I recall it was rather funny. --Oscar Bravo 11:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Viewing Angle[edit]

Does anyone have a full-body picture of David from Goliath's POV? A friend's art history teacher claims that David, as warrior, should be seen from this angle and that he's quite striking and scary. But all the power of the sculpture is taken away when viewing the sculpture from the angles of the photos in the article. Can anyone back this up? Is the art history teacher full of it?

No, that teacher is correct. You can see that warrior expression in a full front view of his face. I did a Google search of images under the phrase "Michelangelo's David" and found several head shots that showed changing expression from changing angles. The front view is surprisingly fierce.

A full-body frontal view, from Goliath's POV, is now available on my webpage at . In order to obtain this view, you have to stand well back behind the column he is facing in the Galleria dell'Accademia, and use X-Ray vision to see through the column. Or else use Stanford's new ScanView software, which is what I did. Incidentally, I liked JoJan's photo of the copy outside the Palazzo Vecchio a lot better than the one that recently replaced it. I'm using JoJan's on my webpage. HuMcCulloch 15:04, 31 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The original position for the statue was supposed to be high atop the Florence Cathedral. I doubt Michelangelo would have created something which was supposed to be viewed from a position which was impossible to attain. The article does suggest that the exaggerated hands and head might have been for the sake of viewers looking from a much lower position. (talk) 10:36, 4 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Skewed Proportions[edit]

Jong Wrote: Would I be wrong in my recollection that the statue was originally commissioned to be placed at the top of the cathedral of Florence (hence the skewed proportions)? Jongo 00:36, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The statue, by looking at David's HUGE head and hands and long legs, I feel with my exp as an artist, that Michelangelo had intended David to be viewed from ABOVE, perhaps from a gallery or balcony somewhere. Giving the viewer Goliath's point of view of the future king David.

viewing from above you wouldn't notice davids weirdly proportioned genitals, his hands would also look more proportionally correct.

Michelangelo also could have wanted to draw attention to his head and hands symbolically, as they were what David used to kill Goliath. Katieb181 (talk) 18:35, 26 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

btw has anyone noticed that the statue is circumsized? isn't that odd for a jewish king?

Can anyone explain the significance (if any) of the small penis? It seems to be an underground joke amongst non-art buffs that poor David is insufficiently endowed, and I was wondering whether Michelangelo was mimicking himself or if he was just trying to make his own package look bigger by comparison?

My guess is that Michelangelo's public would have judged David by the standards of the ancient statuary with which they were familiar. If so, an organ of that size in relationship to the rest of the body would not have seemed diminutive; in fact, they might even have been astonished at the sculpture's realism, particularly with regard to the fact that David has pubic hair.
Actually, they were quite aware that virility is in the testes, not the penis, and it was quite common to highlight the former. (It was also well known that engorgement often led to larger sizes in organs that were small in their flaccid state, but the main point was the focus on the testes.) When they were making the replica for Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, there was actually discussion of making the penis larger to account for ignorant American visitors expecting more "endowment." --Warning: Spoofed IP Address (talk) 04:34, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm afraid I'm not convinced by the "Goliath's point of view" theory put forward by the second anonymous poster. Are you suggesting that the best location for a sculpture of the David's size is at the bottom of a well? Why in his right mind would Michelangelo expend so much effort on the front of the statue if that were the case?
My belief is that David's proportions are skewed because he is an adolescent who hasn't stopped growing yet, and that this aspect of the design was less exaggerated when the sculpture was in its original location, with almost unlimited space all around it, as opposed to its current position in a very enclosed space, filling a what is effectively a large niche at the Accademia gallery. [talk to the] HAM 20:13, 5 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The statue (or at least the block of marble when Donatello first started working it) was originally intended for the roof of the Duomo. There were, at the time, two statues of this size on the roof, but at least one was in cheap materials and not intended to last. (I've seen old sketches of the Duomo that show the statues, but I can't find anything quickly on line.) The intent was to replace it with a marble statue. (By the way, the original intent was not to get a single massive hunk of marble like this, but—I believe—four separate ones: one for each leg, one for the torso, one for the upper body.)

If someone wants to do some library research, this shouldn't be hard to find.

By the way, the thick ankles are almost certainly simply a structural issue. Even as it is, the recent restoration work found hairline cracks. - Jmabel | Talk 18:12, 20 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re the size of the penis, according to an article in the Guardian, by John Hooper, at,12576,1396034,00.html , this might be explained by two Florentine doctors who attribute it to "a contraction of the reproductive organs"..."consistent with the combined effects of fear, tension, and aggression." Atraveler | Talk 7:16, 26 November 2006 (PST)

Um. It's a statue. There is such a thing as reading too much into something: this followed the style of the classical Greek and Roman public sculpture that was so en vogue at the time. Don't forget, Michelangelo got his start doing faux classical sculptures for the Medici. - Jmabel | Talk 00:12, 29 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's advice best given to The Guardian and other newspapers reporting the conjecture. But there's also the possibility that the classical Greek and Roman folks were very observant, and the Florentine doctors just explain. Atraveler 09:38, 13 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the ancient Greek tradition a small penis was de rigueur. Diminishing the apparent size would also decrease the likelihood that people would find it vulgar- the hands stand out to such a degree and they are common enough. People seem to focus on the penis to such a degree that I am not surprised that it is downplayed in proportion. (talk) 10:42, 4 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In "Style and Detail" it says "There is controversy, however, over the statue's supposed Biblical reference, since the statue portrays an uncircumcised male..." but then later "Recent studies show, however, that the statue of David is in fact circumcised" so I'm changing the first bit to past tense since there can't be controversy any more... Omishark 02:23, 8 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Michelangelo's family name[edit]

From my reading and studying days I seem to remember his family name was "Buonaretti" I also remember my grandfather telling me about it (he was born in 1888 and also came from Italy) so, maybe it is important, maybe not. What do you think????????

The only work he ever signed is the Pietà in St. Peter's, which he signed MICHAELA[N]GELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTIN[US] FACIEBA[T]. That is, of course, a Latinized version of his name, but suggests that "Buonarotti" is a better choice than "Buonaretti". - Jmabel | Talk 21:41, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paoletti's remarks[edit]

I went to a talk last night by art historian John Paoletti (who, by the way, probably deserves an article: pretty important writer on Renaissance art, and no slouch on contemporary art, either). Paoletti calls into question whether it is entirely appropriate to call the work unambiguously either "Michelangelo's" or "David". He suggests that Michelangelo, ever the good self-publicist, may have played down how much work Donatello had already done on the block of marble; also, that in the copious written records about the project, prior to the erection of the statue, there is only one reference to it as a "David" (it is otherwise always the "giant" or the "colossus"), that it lacks the standard attributes of a statue of David (no head of Goliath, which is explained by it being before the battle, but also that what is over his shoulder really doesn't much resemble a sling), and that, in any event, there is something rather ironic about a giant statue of the giant-killer.

He also had some very interesting remarks about the statue as a symbol of the Florentine Republic, counterposed to the periods of Medici rule, and that its displacment of the earlier statue of Judith was both (1) a displacement of a Medici-sponsored sculpture but also (2) explicit in its gender politics. On the latter, he quoted several contemporary documents of the time. Apparently, the politics over this continued: he showed a detail of a painting from one of the periods of Medici restoration in which (1) a scene in the piazza is framed so that David's head is just out of the image and (2) right in front of the David there is a break in a frieze-like arrangement of spectators; in the opening there is an image of a dog pissing on the ground.

I don't have anything properly citable on any of this. Many years ago Paoletti wrote a review of Charles Seymour Jr.'s book Michelangelo's David: A Search for Identity (Art Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 3. September 1969, pp. 294-297). I don't have access to that. Some of this may be in that book or his review. Also, Paoletti and Wendy Stedman wrote a book Collaboration in Italian Renaissance art, Yale University Press (1978) ISBN 0300021755; some of this may be there.

Renaissance art history is not particularly an area where I can claim expertise, just basic cluefulness, so I'm probably not the one to follow this up. Someone else might well want to do so.

By the way, we don't mention at all in this article that for much of its history, including in Michelangelo's lifetime, David's genitalia were covered by a garland of finely wrought silver leaves. - Jmabel | Talk 22:07, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Unless I'm mistaken, there have been four separate attempts at restoring the statue. The first was a minor disaster, because one of the materials used to strip dirt, etc. off of the statue was hydrochloric acid. - Jmabel | Talk 18:15, 20 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here's a citation for the hydrochloric acid (which was apparently an 1843 attempt to remove wax that had been applied in 1810) - Jmabel | Talk 18:19, 20 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What's on his shoulder?[edit]

I came here trying to figure out what he's holding on his shoulder, but it doesn't seem to say. Does anyone know? Should that info be in the article? --Masamage 20:32, 19 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is almost universally described as his sling. (John Paoletti remarks that a simple piece of cloth like that would not make an effective sling, part of why he questions whether the statue was originally supposed to be David. Sadly, I don't have anything in writing for Paoletti's remarks.) - Jmabel | Talk 02:03, 23 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
According to one of the external links, he is holding the other end of the sling in his right hand, although you can't really tell from the photos. Appleseed (Talk) 04:18, 19 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Although not at all a definitive answer, Leonardo da Vinci made some sketch artwork of the David pose. As he was a consultant for the project, this should not be surprising. The da Vinci art shows David holding a long sling in his lowered right hand (the sling as da Vinci has it is not likewise depicted in the statue), and the end of a piece of cloth is clasped in his left, with the cloth draping over the left shoulder. To my eye, and I am guessing, the cloth is David's bag of sling ammunition. In the rear view of the statue, you can see this is not at all the case. Perhaps problems with the marble prevented Michaelangelo from rendering the bag, or more likely his intended viewpoint made coming up with a bag irrelevant. I don't have a rear-view drawing of da Vinci's version as I am not European royalty. But the Windsors are, and they have the artwork in their library. If you can find entry RL 125911 in the Royal Library, you can see the thing for yourself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:14, 5 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The drawing mentioned above is RL 12591r in the Royal Library at Windsor [1]. The drawing is not a reliable source for Michelangelo's David as Leonardo appears to have drawn it from memory rather than from the object itself. He has used the pose as a statue of Neptune and has included horses. The catalogue suggests that it is reins that the figure holds in its hands.
  • Goldscheider's book on Michelangelo has good photos from different angles. Regardless of Paoletti's opinion that the "piece of material" wouldn't make a good sling, that is almost certainly what it was intended to be. Michelangelo was not a realist. That is clear from his paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. What we must assume is that the object symbolically represents a sling, even if the depiction of it is lacking.
  • The sling passes over his left shoulder and across his back. He holds the other end in his right hand. That hand may also contain stones.
Amandajm (talk) 10:54, 5 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One can go to "ScanView:a system for remote visualization of scanned 3D models". and download a 3D viewer of the statue of David. I rotated the statue and it does look like a sling, kinda sorta. Donpayette (talk) 21:28, 1 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

angry neighbours[edit]

I was under the impression that David was a symbol of the Republic of Florence conquering the Medici Family, not its neighbours. It was when the Medici family regained power of Florence that the statue of Hercules was comissioned and placed next to David to symbolise the power of the Medici family regaining control of the city. MDP 15:56, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The broader point being that David is a flexibly applicable symmbol of power over brute force. --Wetman 16:40, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MDP: While the meaning of David is flexible (the statue was begun under the Medici), you are certainly correct about Hercules. - Jmabel | Talk 18:45, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm curious as to how the people of Florence reacted to David when Michelangelo had finally completed the sculpture. That might be something to include. Bonannij (talk) 21:26, 25 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Different image[edit]

I have swapped the image used in this article with the one in Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze because I think that it improves both of them ... it's more of a technical than aesthetic decision, based on looking at both pages at 1024x786 screen size using both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

I was editing the David article, and the aspect ratio (tall and thin) was incongruous with the other two images in the article ... because of the {{sculpture}} used to display it, which forces the name of the city and the museum to be on the same line, the width of the displayed box is determined by the combined length of the two text strings ... the result forces the image and caption to spill into the section below at some screen resolutions ... the captions of each one point to the other, which is what gave me the idea to swap them.

There is also a difference in where this spillage occurs based on which browser is used, so I had both pages open in tabs in both browsers so that I could compare the four combinations ... I am also very sensitive to the fact that many public access terminals are constrained to 1024x768 resolution, and the size of the image makes a much bigger difference at that screen size than it does at 1600x1200, which is what a lot of editors have at their home or office ... I tend to work at 1280x1024, but will occasionally switch to 800x600 mode in order to experience what a lot of readers using legacy PCs will see, and that is why images should not be larger than 250 pixels wide ... try it yourself on several pages, and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, because the captions on the images of the statue in both articles point to each other, the same image should not be used for both ... if Some Other Editor does not like the change, then please revert both articles rather than just restoring one of them.

Happy Editing! — 07:47, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personally, I liked the photo by Rico Heil ("Silmaril") better for the David article, since it gives a different perspective than the other two now on the David page, and since it's just better. The new one that "72.75..." just moved from the Accademia page is actually better suited for that page, since it shows off the Tribune better than Rico's does. The aspect ratios and text alignment should be secondary to the content. I don't want to get in the business of Wikipedia editing, however, so please consider me to be just kibbitzing.
For a really different view of David, from Goliath's viewpoint right through the column David is facing, check out my webpage at . Enjoy! 16:47, 4 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with you that the image swapped from Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze was better suited to that article, but I was pressed for time when I did it ... if you can find another image of the original statue elsewhere in Wikipedia that can be used in this article, then leave a note here and I will gladly replace it with the tall, skinny one, and restore the one with the better view of the Tribuna to its original article. — 02:47, 5 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then if the one now at Accademia is better for this one, and the one now here is better for Accademia, why don't you just switch them back the way they were originally? I'm sure Michelangelo would not be concerned if the text didn't align just right. HuMcCulloch 03:14, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Forest Lawn Replica[edit]

There have been at least two replicas of David at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The first was shattered in an earthquake. When it was replaced, the foundation was set on a thick layer of a recently discovered material: Teflon. The cemetery confidently announced that in case of future quakes the statue would merely slide about, undamaged. The last big quake snapped the statue off right at the knees.Saxophobia 02:45, 23 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find it interesting that some replicas of David appear in places like resorts and casinos. Could this be because David is seen as a victory over evil? Bonannij (talk) 21:31, 25 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wouldn't it be smarter if we had pictures of the statue from different angles? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 1 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed! So why don't you bring back Rico's photo from the Accademia page, which originally was here, and send this one back to l'Accademia, where it shows off the Tribune better. (I'll let someone else do this, however, since I don't do Wiki editing, apart from adding an occasional external reference...) HuMcCulloch 03:19, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A major issue with the height of the statue. David is actually 17ft, not 14ft. I tried to change it, but given the amount of incorrectly documented literature on the subject, this might be an impossible task. See for verification. --Jeff (talk) 19:11, 3 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The real statue[edit]

I notice that the top image in the info box is the real statue and not a replica (at least according to the image info page). I wonder if we can add that it is the genuine original statue somewhere, so people know they aren't looking at a replica. JayKeaton (talk) 05:03, 6 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Depicted before or after the battle?[edit]

This article says he is depicted before his battle with Goliath, but I went to see David in Florence and the plaque underneath says he is depicted after the battle occurred. Which is right? --Jim Raynor (talk) 11:50, 16 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removed my own comment. I have second thoughts. Amandajm (talk)

Inadequate intro[edit]

I have just been through the entire history of the intro, to try to determine how such an important subject could have been so badly dealt with.


  • Back in about 2007 we had:

"Michelangelo's David, sculpted from 1501 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of Michelangelo's two greatest works of sculpture, along with the Pietà. The 5.17 meter (17 ft) marble statue portrays the Biblical David at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath. It came to symbolise the Florentine Republic, an independent city state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states. This interpretation was also encouraged by the original setting of the sculpture outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence. The completed sculpture was unveiled on 8 September 1504."

Comment: This seems to sum it up pretty well. We got dates, we are told (concisely) that it is a "masterpiece of the Renaissance" (Is "masterpiece" a peacock termm? I hardly think so.) One of Michelangelo two greatest works of sculpture, with the Pieta? Yes, beyond question. The height is given (as accurately as possible). We are told what the subject is, concisely. (There is no doubt it is the Biblical David. However the "before or after" question is to raise its head.

  • In 2007 an experienced editor changed [[King David|David]] to [[David|King David]], and this was the beginning of a downhill run for this article. Basically, if you wreck the very first paragraph, that tells you what the subject is, then you have done serious damage.
King Edward VI as a baby. He did not become king until he was 9. But this is a portrait of a "king", nonetheless.
Comment: So what's the problem in changing "David" to "King David"?
Does this statue represent "King David"? No, it doesn't. No, it absolutely doesn't!
Understanding that it does not represent a king is important to understanding everything that this statue stands for.
While we know that the young man portrayed eventually was chosen as King, that fact has nothing whatever to do with this artwork. King David is not the subject matter here.
The significant fact about David is that he was an ordinary lad. He was a shepherd boy. That' is why he was patron of the Wool Guild.
So this is a portrayal of a common ordinary lad of greater-than-average courage who defeated a giant.
In a nutshell, the statue represents "David". It doesn't represent "King David". One small thoughtless edit like that can seriously change the meaning of an article for the next three years.
  • in December 2007, someone naive and well-meaning added the words "in the nude".
So now we have the sentence: "The 5.17 meter (17 ft) marble statue portrays the Biblical King David in the nude at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath."
Comment: There is a certain difference between "nude statue of David" and "a statue of King David in the nude".....which suggests King David getting into his bath. "Nude" is a word used in art commentary. " the nude" is not. It simply that the person has been caught naked. This is the way that Michelangelo's critics (with the Inquisition getting underway) chose to perceive the Last Judgement.
  • In September 2008 we got a major expansion. Not satisfied with David being a masterpiece and one of the Mighty Mick's two greatest sculptures, someone added:
"Michelangelo's David, sculpted from 1501 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of Michelangelo's two greatest works of sculpture, along with the Pietà. It is the statue of the young Israelite king David alone that almost certainly is one of the most recognizable stone sculptures in the history of art. It is regarded as a symbol both of strength and youthful human beauty. The 5.17 meter (17 ft)[1] marble statue portrays the Biblical King David in the nude, at the moment that he decides to battle with Goliath.
Comment: All this, before we have even been told what the subject matter is. Notice that this editor has picked up on the erroneous fact that this represents "King David" and embelished it "the young Israelite King David".
This totally OTT edit had an unfortunate and unintended result. Someone removed all reference to the fame of this supremely famous artwork, but did retain "Renaissance masterpiece". We went back to it being "the Biblical King David in the nude at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath.
  • 24 January 2009. Along comes an anonymous editor who makes this very interesting and unreferenced change.
"The 5.17 meter (17 ft)[1] marble statue portrays the Biblical King David in the nude, contemplating the worldly forces which have helped him to victory over Goliath."
Comment: Here is a different slant, and one well worth thinking about! A second opinion!
  • 17th February 2009. Such a daring edit could not stay for long. Another experienced editor that should have known better replaced it with:
"The ... marble statue portrays the Biblical King David in the nude. Unlike previous depictions of David which portray the hero after his victory over Goliath Michealangelo chose to represent David before the fight contemplating the battle yet to come.[2]"
Comments: The division of one sentence into two has left us with this bald, simplistic and erroneous statement: "The...statue portrays the Biblical King David in the nude."
Aaaaargh! The subject of this artwork is not "King David in the nude"! This is the worst edit ever. OK! OK! It was an edit in good faith. However, a dozen experienced editors, including people with expertise in art, have been to this page, have reverted vandalism and made other changes, but have permitted this sentence to stand for a year as the Primary definition of what this artwork is about. If I am to loose all faith in wikipedia, than this might do it!
The same experienced editor "corrected" that second opinion by putting in a different opinion, and referencing it. If we were talking about a clear-cut fact here, (the much disputed height of David, which must have a single accurate answer) then eliminating what was written would be fine. But when someone has written a perfectly valid statement that is contrary to the accepted one, it needs looking at. The statement alerts editors to the fact that there is another opinion out there. The change that was made needed to reflect that fact, even if only by the simple means of writing "the accepted opinion is that this represents...." or "Helen Gardner states that this represents....." Better still, if you are a serious editor, then try sourcing that second, and very interesting opinion, rather than simply deleting it.
Amandajm (talk) 03:22, 13 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I noticed that there wasn't a single hyperlink to the artist's Wikipedia page, so I will add those in. One per section is the norm, correct? Bpenguin17 (talk) 01:27, 16 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is not david circumcised?--MathFacts (talk) 08:54, 8 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have deleted some of the original research in this section, following the September 2011 suggestion. The section suggesting that David's circumcision was historically authentic refers to a history of circumcision wikipedia page and to an refereed website. The History of circumcision page in its present form does not support this assertion, and the un-refereed article (1) cites no sources and (2) ignores the extensive body of literature on the subject. I agree with MathFacts and deleted this assertion. If the editor who added this statement can find legitimate sources for it, please cite these and reinstate the text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Orpington22903 (talkcontribs) 16:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Usage in other media[edit]

I have removed the usage in other media section, which was added today. While I certainly do not think that such material is necessarily unencyclopedic, I think that we need to be systematic with its introduction. By that I mean that we should seek to address the variety and scope of such appearances from the start, rather than simply listing them on an ad hoc basis. Listing a single example, when there are surely a countless number to choose from, seems somewhat strange when we are seeking to present an encyclopedic summary of the subject. Rje (talk) 23:08, 20 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template problem[edit]

there is a problem with the template at the begining of the page. Could someone plz fix it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fixed. Thanks for reporting the problem. MANdARAX  XAЯAbИAM 08:13, 24 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In modern culture and modern interpretations[edit]

Considering the iconic status of Michelangelo's David I wondered if it might be an idea including a section on its continuing influence and use as reference in modern culture. For instance the issue of David's nudity provided a counter to Marge's campaign in The Simpsons, ninth episode, second series, which explored issues of censorship.

It has also had an influence in sculpture and I would suggest the Scottish sculptor Alexander Carrick's sculpture for the Killin War Memorial in the Scottish Highlands as being one of many sculptures using Michelangelo's work as an inspiration or cultural reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamiemcginlay (talkcontribs) 21:02, 2 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have been considering David’s massive size compared to how he was depicted in the Bible. I believe the Bible characterizes him as much smaller than Goliath and not nearly as strong. I am wondering if Michelangelo used some influences from the time period he lived in to depict David. In the Renaissance, people were often depicted as godlike. Is it possible Michelangelo was just following the norms of his time when sculpting David? Bonannij (talk) 21:12, 25 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bizarre choice of photo[edit]

Why is the primary photo [2] instead of the much more commonly portrayed angle [3] (which is shown a bit further down)? The first photo is, quite frankly, rubbish. It looks like he's had a spray-tan on just his face, the background colours are all over the place, his head looks massive... just awful. Shouldn't even be in the article, let alone leading it when there is a much better alternative. -- (talk) 22:21, 8 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I concur with 77.102 that the second photo should be moved back to the lead position (where it was a couple of years ago). However, I would retain the current lead photo, perhaps moving it down to the current second position. Although it isn't the greatest exposure, it is as close as one can get to David's important head-on gaze from his right side without a column being in your way. The headshot further down is as close as you can get to it from his left side. Better yet, move the column! I'll let someone else do the moving, however. HuMcCulloch (talk) 15:57, 9 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Title photo once more[edit]

I would additionally address the problem, if this is the right place to do so - that Livioandronico2013 revises all day long the David title photograph (by me). Hopefully it is not just vanity on my part, but it appears to me, that his photo doesn't meet the quality requirements David deserves. This David appears too monochrome. The modeling of the marble is not visible enough. The torso should show the real play of the light. Here the middle around the navel is blown out. The light gives the statue the appearance of a plastercast. The wall behind David's left leg seems highly photoshopped. I have no time and enduring ambition to play this in-and-out game. So I would appreciate, if someone else could decide in this matter (if this is possible in Wikipedia.)Livioandronico2013 played this exchange-games more often as older discussions show (e.g. german David page) and one cannot contact him by email (I have tried). Maybe someone knows how to arrive at an agreement. Thanks JB Unna.

Consensus is the name of the game, which photo the community prefers. My 2-pence is that I prefer the original photo, yours. There's something funny going on with of the new photo, like it's been superimposed on the background. Яehevkor 18:58, 23 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 16:19, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excess photo[edit]

Hey Modernist! The article has two similar photo and we can simply use one of them for the sake of avoiding excess photos. You must have a good reason for you revert, don't you? --Mhhossein talk 04:33, 13 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, It's two photos that should both be included. This is an important sculpture by an important artist; and both images are useful...Modernist (talk) 12:11, 13 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Modernist:You failed to explain why you think we technically need two repetitious photos. I think, the solution is two have an RFC. --Mhhossein talk 17:35, 14 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I most certainly have explained why they are both important. They are not repetitious because one focuses on his waist to his torso and the other on his genitals. This is a work of art, a stone sculpture - an important stone sculpture by one of the most important sculptors in history. Most wikipedia's in other languages host both pictures as well. Wikipedia is not censored by the way...Modernist (talk) 18:19, 14 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If I were in favor of censoring I would say both had to be deleted. I did not ask you to present a summary of the sculpture and I know what it is. Moreover, what other Wikipedias do has absolutely nothing to do with our case. They are different communities! The last comment before the RFC: The photos are repetitious because one of them is showing the details of genitals, waist and other parts clearly and we don't need an excess photo! --Mhhossein talk 11:25, 15 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC: Is the photo excess?[edit]

The consensus is to include both File:'David' by Michelangelo JBU10.JPG and File:'David' by Michelangelo JBU11.JPG.

Opponents argued that the images are excessive and are not helpful in understanding the text.

Supporters argued that the images are both useful for understanding the text and noted that the second photo helps "mak[e] it quite plain that Michelangelo's conception of David is at odds with Jewish cultural norms, as is noted in the immediately accompanying text". The article's text currently notes:

Commentators have noted the presence on David's penis of his foreskin, which is at odds with the Judaic practice of circumcision, but is consistent with the conventions of Renaissance art.[23][24]

Based on this, I conclude that the supporters' argument that the photo helps illustrates the text and adds value is stronger than opposers' argument that photo is excessive.

Cunard (talk) 01:07, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the article include both of this and this photo? Please consider that this photo details genitals, waist and other parts well while this one seems excess and does not make further help for understanding the text. --Mhhossein talk 14:15, 16 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Keep both. The second, detailing David's doodle, makes it quite plain that Michelangelo's conception of David is at odds with Jewish cultural norms, as is noted in the immediately accompanying text. --Pete (talk) 17:11, 19 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep Both as I commented above they are both important...Modernist (talk) 19:18, 19 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Delete the second, I think it is repetitive and it does not add more value to the article. I noticed the photo is not in the Italian article. I also think adding other detail photos from other angles would be more valuable to describe the statue.CuriousMind01 (talk) 11:42, 20 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Delete the second, It's excessively repetitive, and it doesn't add value. It also doesn't seem serious, it seems like a fun idea, but in that way I don't think it shows respect for the greatness of the subject. The point about cultural norms is clearly illustrated in the first photo, so the 2nd photo is not really needed. Biderbeck (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:25, 20 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep both. They are in different parts of the article, illustrating different things. Scolaire (talk) 15:07, 21 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep both. They're used to support different sections of the text. There are a lot of close-up photos in the article, but you'd expect that in an article about a work of art and they're all used effectively. The only argument advanced for removing one is "excess". But what exactly does that mean? By what standard? Why have you chosen these two photos out of the ten in the article? Also, in the section above you decided to have an RFC after two comments on this issue. This barely constitutes a dispute, and further discussion on the talk page and, if that didn't work, a third opinion should have been pursued first. Summoning the entire community here with an RfC is excess(ive). Joe Roe (talk) 13:24, 22 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep both and endorse comments by Joe Roe, and Modernist above. Johnbod (talk) 13:28, 22 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Delete the second - Remind me to never comment on these "Bot Feedback requests" when I just wake up!, Anyway the 2nd is way too close and doesn't add any value to the article - The first image is more than enough ... You don't need a close up of it. –Davey2010Talk 12:24, 1 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Isn't explicitly calling the piece a "masterpiece" kind of a breach of the objectivity implied by an "encyclopedic tone?" 2601:642:C481:4640:95C6:7D9B:2093:9C16 (talk) 00:43, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possibly, but editing it to floppy and crusty as one user is doing just recently is both vandalism and the same violation. Two wrongs don't make a right, of course... Ellenor2000 (talk) 13:23, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • To the IP's question, David is a recognized masterpiece. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:52, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is true, but imo specifically denoting it as a "masterpiece" violates WP:Encyclopedic style; it is neither "impersonal" nor "dispassionate". It's not objective either, whether something is a "masterpiece" is purely something of personal opinion. I feel like a better way to convey this info would be by writing something along the lines of "David is widely considered a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture". RoadSmasher420 (talk) 10:09, 22 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In my opinion, "widely considered" is non-encyclopedic and absolute clap-trap.
    David is the most famous, the most cited, the most reproduced, the most visited, the most written about, the most photographed sculpture of a male figure in the history of the world.
    These are the facts concerning this work.
    There are topics in the encyclopedia which are of unique significance.
    And I use the word "unique" here to signify its meaning accurately. I do not mean, great, or important o famous. I mean "unique", i.e. "one of a kind".
    A masterpiece, originally, was not simple a "value judgement". It was the piece produced by an apprentice to pove his worth. The word hace taken on a wider meaning and indicates the greatest work produced by the artist. This work is beyond doubt Michelangelo's masterpiece, because, even though he went on to produce the Pieta and the Moes, this is the work hat pose the greatest challenge and the greatest achievement.
    The David is Michelangelo's sculptural masterpiece.
    Amandajm (talk) 17:15, 22 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]