A Comparison of Michelangelo’s and Donatello’s Sculptures of David Essay

A Comparison of Michelangelo’s and Donatello’s Sculptures of DavidMichelangelo and Donatello were the most respected and inspiring artists of their time. Michelangelo of the High Renaissance and Donatello of the Early Renaissance both hailed from Italy. Both tell the biblical story of David versus Goliath, as told in I Samuel 17:28-51, in their sculptures “David.” David was a Shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath with nothing but a slingshot in his hands. Michelangelo displays David before the battle while Donatello shows David after the battle with Goliath. Michelangelo and Donatello were two of four famous artists who have created a statue depicting their image of David; Bernini and Andrea del Verrocchio were the others, but Michelangelo’s and Donatello’s were far more famous.

Donatello had a more detailed and wide-ranging knowledge of ancient sculpture than any other artist of his day. Some time between 1404 and 1407, he became a member of the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti, who taught Donatello how to sculpt in bronze. Donatello, the first to create a statue of David, did so between the years of 1430-1440. This bronze figure was life-size at 5’2?” and was nude, which was done for the first time that we know of since antiquity. 4David is seen with a feminine body structure that serves both as a possible explanation for Jonathan’s love for him as well as to show that David’s accomplishment in tossing the stone at Goliath was not a result of his feminine physic, but rather of God’s will. 1Donatello was a very homosexual person and might have drawn upon it in his characterization of David. 1The sophistication of the gleaming bronze, together with David’s self-absorption, feminine pose, and slime, graceful, ad…

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…isplays David before the battle while Donatello shows David after the battle with Goliath. 2Michelangelo shows the scene where David might have heard that his people are hesitating and he sees Goliath jeering and mocking them. Donatello shows the scene of David standing on Goliath’s head, which he cut off his body with Goliath’s sword after defeating the mighty giant.

These two pieces of David are some of the best artworks in history. Michelangelo and Donatello are the best and most respected artists of their time. It is hard to compare and contrast these works since they are both very similar and so remarkable. I grew up knowing of only the David made by Michelangelo, but once I saw Donatellos, I was speechless. There are so many similarities, yet both tell their own story. I do not think we will ever see works as magnificent as these in our lifetime.


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