Sculpted by Michelangelo in 1501/4, the David stands at 517 centimeters tall (491 centimeters from head to foot) and is located in the Galleria dell’Academia.
The David was carved from a single block of marble and was originally commissioned to adorn one of the buttresses of Santa Maria del Fiore. The proportions of the figure’s body are adjusted to account for this location, with the upper torso larger than the rest of the body, as it would have been 40 feet off the ground. Michelangelo manipulated the size of the figure’s hands and head in order to establish the character of David. David was a hero and artistically this is shown through a larger head size. Michelangelo also enlarged the figure’s hands in order to emphasis the defining feature of David, his sling. In the Bible, David had defeated the giant, Goliath, using his sling.
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During the anti-Medici riots in Florence, the David suffered significant damage. Furniture was thrown from the Palazzo Vecchio by rioters, one of which collided with the David. The left arm of the statue had broken off and had separated into three pieces. It was the artist and biographer, Giorgio Vasari, and artist, Francesco Salviati, who collected these pieces and repaired the statue. In 1873 the statue was moved indoors to protect it from the weather and the public. A replica now stands in its place outside the Palazzo Vecchio, in the Piazza della Signoria.