by Maggie Bell 

On 8 September 1504, Michelangelo’s statue of David was unveiled in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.  The sculpture, hewn from a colossal block of marble, had occupied Michelangelo for almost three years after he took over the commission from Agostino di Duccio.  The David advertised Michelangelo’s creative engagement with classical forms as well as his technical ability, since he was able to salvage the marble block that was thought to have been ruined by the original sculptor.  

Thought the David was intended as ornament for the Cathedral of Florence, the sculpture was felt to be too impressive not to showcase, and was installed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in 1504 where it remained until 1873 when it was moved to the Accademia.  

Further reading: 

“MICHELANGELO.” Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed September 7, 2017,

Paoletti, John T., and Rolf Bagemihl. 2015. Michelangelo’s David: Florentine history and civic identity.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, David, 1504, Galleria dell’Accademia.  Photo by Jorg Bittner Unnna. 

Zocchi, Giuseppe, Piazza della Signoria, 18th century, private collection. 

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