One of my favorite places in Florence is the Accademia Gallery Museum which houses the iconic David sculpture by Michelangelo. When my character art history teacher Rennie Maning arrives in Florence, this is her first stop despite a case of jet lag. And yes, this is where my title Hello Michelangelo comes from. At seventeen feet tall, the David, a Biblical hero, represents the power of the underdog and the belief that all things are possible. I love this message!
Fun Fact: Michelangelo was actually the third sculptor to try his hand at this huge block of marble. The project started with the great Donatello who planned to use it to make a series of biblical figures. Under his direction, Florentine sculptor Agostino di Duccio began carving David’s legs but then Donatello passed away. Ten years later, Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to finish the statue. He was fired and the marble lay dormant for 25 years and was aptly named “The Giant.” Michelangelo, at twenty-six years old, would earn the right to take on this major feat in 1501; he completed the sculpture in 1504 to rave reviews.
Travel TV host Rick Steves once wrote, “David’s white marble body is beyond color. David is beyond gender. David is fundamentally human. People from all nations look up at him . . . For 500 years, David has stood tall, alone and just about ready for a haircut, encouraging mortals, turning tourists into pilgrims and shining light on darkness.” With 8 million visitors per year, including my character, Rennie Maning, art lovers never tire of viewing this masterpiece.