The story of David and Goliath is frequently quoted to describe a situation where somebody faces a more powerful or larger opponent. David, a shepherd in the Bible, fought against the giant Goliath in armor and weapons. All David had was faith and five stones. He was able to achieve victory by hitting the giant with the stones.
This story was a popular theme in Western art and was depicted by many painters, of which Michelangelo is one of the most famous. Michelangelo’s statue of David, one of the masterpieces of Renaissance Art, is astonishing and unconventional even today. The statue was erected in Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 1504 when the artist was 29. He shaved off the large stone from Carrara and finished the statue in three years. This means that the statue was built when the artist was in his twenties. The statue is over 5 meters tall. Other statues of David made by contemporary artists of the time were the size of real humans.
The way Michelangelo depicted David is also unique. The sculptor chose to depict David nude to emphasize the beauty of the human body. Most artists like to capture the moment when David took Goliath down and beheaded him, that is, the moment of victory. Michelangelo, however, decided to depict David before the battle with Goliath. David, wearing a stone sling on his shoulder, is frightened, but he is summoning up the courage. His wrinkled forehead, tight lips, and muscles show the tension of a boy. When the sculpture was unveiled, it symbolized patriotism and freedom. The statue of David, today in the Piazza della Signoria, is a copy. It was replaced in 1910, and the original statue was transferred to the Accademia Gallery of Florence.
David was only a character in the Bible, but he has been loved by many regardless of age because he is the hero for those who are young and weak. He is a symbol of hope encouraging those to take courage and stand up to the Goliaths of the world.