Underestimating the David

By: Vittoria L.

Like a lot of people, I dreamed of going to see the David, a marble statue that people travel worlds away just to see. Yet unlike most people, I did not want to see it to marvel at its beauty, but rather to  prove to myself that there was nothing special about this sculpture. I thought it was nice and cool, but overrated— just a marble statue of a man. I wanted to see it so I could confirm that there was nothing unique about a man made out of marble. Later I realized that I wrong.

Before going on our trip to Greece and Italy, we studied the Renaissance to prepare ourselves for all of the paintings and artwork we would be seeing in Florence and Rome. On our last day in Florence, we went to the Accademia to see the David. From learning about the David and seeing photos, I imagined a normally sized statue of a man that did not tell much of a story. I thought of paintings as bright and colorful storybooks, every story unique to the viewer. While sculptures were pretty for decoration, after a while they became boring. With paintings you could see something new every time, yet to me sculptures were bland and didn't showcase as much talent. To me, all sculptures looked more or less the same. This was until I saw David in real life.

As we shuffled through a large alleyway, sweeping windows lined the roof filtering rich golden threads of soft radiant light, illuminating the vast room. Every other artwork in the room became blurred, and there I saw him. Standing right in the middle was arguably the most famous statue in the world—a 17-foot statue standing in a relaxed posture looking ethereal in the light. The big dome he stood underneath gathered all of the light hitting his smooth marble skin, giving him a soft, realistic glow. He looked alive—I was sure that David was alive. I stood there in awe, and I walked slowly towards him, transfixed. The same boy in the Bible who had killed the giant Goliath was standing right there in front of me. There was so much human in him. The way Michelangelo crafted him—the curve of his gentle hands and muscles earned by years of herding sheep. The way his legs bent casually and relaxed.  

Michelangelo was a true artist. He took a block of marble and truly gave it life. I felt so bad for underestimating the beauty of this statue. After staring at him for a while imagining the work it took to make a unique humanistic masterpiece, I understood why people came from all over the world to see this man. He was not just a statue of a glorified man, but a statue of a young boy casually waiting to step into battle with God at his side.

Michelangelo was truly an artist, a man who was able to plant a seed and watch it grow as he watered his vision with love. His legacy continues to plant seeds of inspiration, leaving so many people wonderstruck at his creations. Thank you, Michelangelo, for everything you did, and I am sorry for saying that your David was not that special. I was wrong, and I hope others have the chance to see that too.