David is one of the true masterpieces of sculpture. However, some may find it offensive.

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The Galeria dell'Academia looks like any building
on the street; granite, stained by the years of exposure,
in need of cleaning; the street, teaming with early morning rush hour traffic, looked like all the others in Italy, and Florence looked like all the other cities that I have visited, too crowded, too loud, too busy.  But, herded together with the others I enter through the two tall, narrow doors into the entry area.

  As I turn the corner, my eyes move directly to a huge, imposing and profound statue, off in the distance.  Nothing else in the room focused, my eyes were fixed on this fifteen - foot high marble monument glistening and shining.  Sitting in a rotunda at the end of the room, bathed in intense spotlights hanging all around from the ceiling. 

 As I move closer, I can feel that this is something special.  Awe, reverence, respect, all build up inside me as I approach.  Look at the muscles, almost trembling, being held so taut, the veins in the arms, following the veins in the marble.  It is David, David by Michelangelo. Five hundred years old, carved by the 26 year old genius over a three year period, carved by hand, filed, polished, a work of love.

 A huge block of marble some eighteen feet high was given to a sculptor to make a figure of a prophet.  But, the marble was flawed. Agostino di Duccio had begun to chip away at it, but realized he could do nothing with the block. So it lay gathering dust for 40 years.  But 26-year-old Michelangelo saw something in the marble. In 1501 he began working.  For three years he carved his David.  He felt the life-force of the marble and captured it to create the spirit of David.

David is in a relaxed pose.  It must be well after the battle with Goliath.. He looks more thoughtful. Most of the tension is gone, his muscles are relaxed, although you can tell the strain from his face. The slingshot is still there.  He carries over his shoulder, almost invisible, emphasizing that his victory was one of cleverness, not sheer strength. Look at the sinewy muscles, the legs the arms, the chest.  A sensual, beautiful, lasting image.

I stand, mesmerized, staring at the work, imagining a 26 year old, a three year commitment. The dedication, the motivation.  Look at the beauty of it, the perfection.  Man cannot do this, man cannot create this beauty.  Not alone, not without help.  Yes, yes there is a Holy Spirit, and with that inspiration, David was created.


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MIDI sequenced by Don Carroll

Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475 in the village of Caprese, Italy. He was one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, a period when the arts and sciences flourished. Michelangelo became an apprentice to a painter, at the age of 12, but soon began to study sculpture instead. At age 23, Michelangelo completed his "Pieta", a magnificent marble statue that shows the Virgin Mary grieving over the dead Jesus.   It is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He began work on "David" in 1501
From 1508 until 1512 Michelangelo worked on, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. He had always considered himself a sculptor and resisted painting the Chapel.  Only the power of the Pope Julius II forced him into the reluctant achievement of the world's greatest single fresco. Michelangelo later painted "The Last Judgment" on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.
Toward the end of his life, Michelangelo became more involved in architecture. In 1546 he was made chief architect of the partly finished St. Peter's Church in Rome.