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Michelangelo’s David sculpture

Michelangelo's David is the male sculpture what the Venus from Milo is for the female statues. This iconic statue is a masterpiece and certainly shouldn't be missed when visiting Florence.

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statue of David Florence

The David is very big! Just look at its sheer size compared to the hundreds of visitors that walk below it!

Who was Michelangelo?

Michelangelo is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists that ever lived in this world. His full name, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, sounds almost as beautiful as his artwork. In addition to sculptor, he was also a gracious painter, with one of his masterpieces being the the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Furthermore, he was an architect and poet and lived in Florence in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. His best-known work, the statue of David, is the highlight of Renaissance sculptures.

michelangelo david sculpture

The most loved piece of art in the Galleria dell’Accademia is of course ‘The David’. But there’s plenty of other great things to see!

Who was the David of Michelangelo?

David was the second king of the kingdom of Israel and was famous for his fight with Goliath. This giant harassed the Israeli people until the young David, who until then worked as a shepherd, took up arms and fought him. David was just armed with a pendulum and a stone but nevertheless he could sling out the pointy rock straight between the eyes of the giant, who immediately collapsed. David was crowned king and would be celebrated in many other artworks as well. Michelangelo’s David in Florence is undoubtedly the most famous one. The artist worked on this statue of 5,17 meters high (16,96 ft) for over three years, making the whole sculpture out of one block of marble.

david of michelangelo penis

Several body parts are clearly out of proportion. And I’m of course referring to its right hand!

Where can you see Michelangelo’s David?

Originally, David was part of a series of prophets, to be placed on the roof of the cathedral of Florence. Nevertheless, it was decided to exhibit the sculpture on a public square, just outside the Palazza della Signoria, the seat of the civil administration in Florence. Because Michelangelo’s David depicted a true hero, the statue soon became a symbol of the Republic of Firenze itself. This city state, you must know, was threatened by many rival states for its wealth and prosperity.
Because of this everlasting competition with other states, David’s eyes were even aimed at Rome, the second most powerful state of the country. In 1873, David was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia, where you can still see it. On the original location you can now see a replica.

michelangelos david galleria dell'accademia firenze

It really is impressive how beautiful and graceful this sculpture is. Don’t forget that this statue was made without any modern techniques or tools!

In addition to the David in the Galleria dell’Accademia, you’ll also find a magnificent sculpture next to the Palazzo Vecchio and a bronze sculpture on the Piazza Michelangelo. If they are just as impressive as the real sculpture, I’ll leave for you to decide…

piazza michelangelo michelangelos david

The David on Piazza Michelangelo. David doesn’t look bad in bronze either!

Statue of David tickets 

If you want to see Michelangelo’s David in Florence, you must visit the Galleria Accademia. If you buy the tickets in the museum yourself, you’ll pay 8 euros per person. Please note that this is the most visited museum of Firenze, and that it’s not uncommon to wait in line for a couple of hours (look at the picture below …). Fortunately, you can also buy a skip-the-line ticket for the Statue of David and the rest of the museum (€16 or $18,50) without losing time standing in line.
I recommend buying a ticket with a guide included. This costs about twenty euros, but it makes your visit so much more interesting!

For combination tickets, skip-the-line tickets and guided tours, check out these options:

 

» All tickets for the Academia

waiting lines galleria dell'accademia florence the david

The waiting lines for the Galleria Accademia. The white arrow is where the entrance it, at the corner.

Firenze Card

Also worth mentioning is the Firenze Card.
If you stay in Florence for three days or more, this may be a smart purchase. With the Firenze Card you can enjoy 72 attractions in the city for 72 hours.
With this card, after payment of € 72, you have free access to all these activities. In addition, you also have priority access to all museums and churches (including the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Uffizi!) Ánd you can climb the Duomo of Firenze.

As I stayed in Florence for four days, I bought this card on my first day and I could easily pass this long queue. I waited a whopping five minutes before I got inside and could inspect Michelangelo’s David from up close. I think this card is definitely worth the money if you plan on visiting quite some museums and sights.

galleria dell'accademia statue of david

David is very centrally located in the museum, and most visitors immediately head to the pedestal where he’s showing off.

Five fun facts about Michelangelo’s David

  1. David’s right hand is not in proportion with the rest of his body. It is believed that Michelangelo made it bigger as a wink to David’s nickname: manu fortis (strong by hand).
  2. Michelangelo was the first artist ever to portray a statue of David without Goliath. That’s because he chose to sculpt this biblical hero just before the moment of battle.
  3. The block marble used by Michelangelo for this world-famous artwork was previously denied by two other sculptors. It had to wait for forty years until Michelangelo made it world famous.
  4. Fans of the Simpsons might’ve already seen David in an episode of this popular television show. In this episode, the privates of David were censored since he was wearing a pair of shorts. This event is not just based on fiction! In 1857 the Grand Duchess of Tuscany delivered the English queen Victoria a replica of Michelangelo’s David. However, she was so in shock by the nakedness that she decided to add a fig leaf onto a strategic place. You can still see this sculpture in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
  5. Every year more than eight million visitors visit the Galleria Accademia and the David of Michelangelo. All of this foot traffic causes small, almost constant earthquakes that make small tears in the marble. Therefore, the statue needs to be restored quite regularly. Every two months the statue is also vacuumed.

Michelangelo’s David is so important to our art history that you can’t leave Florence without seeing him with your own eyes. Florence has so many other things to see, so you will definitely need a couple of days to explore this city. This makes the Tuscan capital a great destination for a city trip or as a part of your Italian road trip!

statue of David michelangelo galleria accademia

The one and only David can be seen in the Galleria Accademia of Florence. But there’s plenty of other David’s to be seen in this city!

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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