Comparing Donatello's David with Michelangelo's David Sculptures
The similar structures at first glance when comparing Donatello's David with Michelangelo's David are deconstructed upon further review. The early and high Renaissance styles are exemplified in these two pieces and reveal deeper details of their artists and influences on each work. This work is a combination of discussions from Heather Smith and I regarding the statues of David.
Both visions of David have a similar pose and body construction overall. When looking at the two pieces it is almost like seeing the same person in two different costumes. Both are standing men who are nude for the most part and obviously carrying the physique of a warrior. They both present a strong male figure who had a body relevant to the times that would be implemented on the battlefield. This figure has plans to or has already struck on the battlefield and has prepared his body for such contact. He is prone for attack or recovering from physical struggle.
The bronze David circa 1440 is a bit more feminine in nature. The sun blocking cap and wrist bent behind the hip flexes a softer bodily shape. The hip is tilted toward the right in contrast to Michaelangelo’s sculpture. The bent left arm is another inward turn that is less masculine in Donatello’s David piece and is looking directly at the viewer as if showing off the humanist body. It is an arrogant look of conquering or vanquishing a foe and then standing to be admired. This demand for attention is a stark different to the third party appreciation that develops from viewing Michelangelo’s David.
Michelangelo’s more masculine portrayal of David is short hair and does not need the weapon of a sword or protection of a shoes and hat. The symbol of the man is enough to be powerful without relying on any tools and does not have to be seen stepping on a head just to seem a warrior. The standing pose is almost that of recovery and planning on strategy to be followed next. There are many differences in styles that surface taking into account the Greco Roman styles and appreciation for the depicted values in each sculpture. His eyes are turned and focused on Rome and the future as a result of his actions and political events. These slight decorations of the statues may have tremendous implications to the thoughts and actions of the subject as seen by the sculptor. By analyzing these details we get a better picture of the man and the time period.