Bernardo Rossellino or Antonio Rossellino|
Bernardo Rossellino (sculptor)
Florentine, 1409 - 1464
Antonio Rossellino (sculptor)
Florentine, 1427 - 1479
The David of the Casa Martelli, c. 1461/1479
overall: 164.6 x 50.4 x 42.4 cm (64 13/16 x 19 13/16 x 16 11/16 in.) gross weight (figure and pedestal): 975.234 kg (2150 lb.) gross weight (figure only): 272.158 kg (600 lb.) gross weight (pedestal only): 703.075 kg (1550 lb.) pedestal weight (top section): 408.237 kg (900 lb.) pedestal weight (bottom section): 294.838 kg (650 lb.)
Object 5 of 8
Confidently focusing his attention upward, David stands triumphant with his chin high, hand on hip, and a foot on the severed head of Goliath. In his right hand, his sling is already reloaded, poised for battle should any Philistines dare return. Powerful in spirit and mind but not physically intimidating, the shepherd boy David was often used as a symbol in fifteenth-century Florence. Tucked into the hills of Tuscany, this small republic built its prosperity upon a textile industry and financial astuteness. As it grew in political importance, it became intent upon governing itself. Nearly every major Florentine sculptor, in response to the high demand from patrons, put his tools to a David triumphing over Goliath.
This David, which once stood in the courtyard of the palace of the Martelli family in Florence, appears in Agnolo Bronzino's painting Ugolino Martelli (c. 1540). Loyal to the Medici, the Martelli were a politically ambitious family of bankers with modest wealth. They were also significant patrons of the arts. Roberto Martelli, one of the more munificent Martelli family fathers, commissioned several works from Donatello; this David, once attributed to Donatello, may well be based on his model.
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