Postcard view of David Top of the Duomo

The GALLERIA DELL' ACCADEMIA ..The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence was founded in 1563. It was the first school of its kind in Europe, teaching drawing, painting and sculpting. The gallery was originally intended to give art students examples to study and reproduce. Nobody thought about tourism in 1563.

Michelangelo Buonarotti believed that the sculptor was a tool of God. It was his duty to chip away at the stone so that the intended statue emerged. Well, a few lesser talented "tools" started chipping away at the 17 foot tall piece of Carrara marble, but the unfinished piece lay in waiting for 25 years before Michelangelo (at only 26 years of age) received the official task. It took him three years to complete the piece in 1504 and established him as the foremost sculptor of his day.

David was originally to be displayed on the top of the Duomo. For that reason, Michelangelo proportioned the head a little larger so that it could be viewed from a distance. However, the finished product was just too beautiful to be seen from afar. So, David was displayed outside at the Piazza della Signoria until 1873. Then, for his protection and preservation, he was moved to Accademia. And, protection was needed. During a riot in 1527, a bench was thrown out the window of the palace next door, breaking off David's left arm. I'm fairly certain that was not a good day for Michelangelo.

Anyway, the curators at the Accademia did a super job with the display. There were other masterpieces from the 15th and 16th centuries open for viewing. I didn't look at any of them. I just sat before the stature, circled him from all sides, and soaked in the beauty. Photos couldn't do it justice, which was probably a good thing, because you weren't allowed to take any of them. (That nearly killed me.)

Copyright 2010 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.