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Michelangelo's David-Apollo: An Offer He Couldn't Refuse

Alison Luchs, curator of early European sculpture, National Gallery of Art. Michelangelo created the statue now known as David-Apollo around 1530 to please the tyrannical governor of Florence, Baccio Valori. The double name of this unfinished work, which is on loan to the National Gallery of Art from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, reflects contradictory evidence—both visual and documentary—concerning the subject. The graceful figure, its surface still veiled in chisel marks, embodies ambiguities and conflicts in Michelangelo’s own life. This lecture, recorded on January 27, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, explores the mysteries surrounding the statue, the significance of its unfinished condition, and responses to it from later artists. The loan of David-Apollo opened the nationwide celebration 2013―The Year of Italian Culture.The sculpture is on view from December 13, 2012, to March 2, 2013.