Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Bernini’s David is my favorite David of the four famous David’s. In truly embodies the Baroque are in a three dimensional form. It also shows a shift in the religious art of the time as a direct result of the Council of Trent. The religious art of the Baroque era was supposed to be uplifting, engaging, and have an emotional response to help the view draw closer to God. I think that the three dimensional work from this time period really shows this the best compared with any other art form because of the way it interacts with architecture and lighting in the space so flawlessly. After visiting St. Peter’s Basilica I feel very strongly about how powerful three dimensional forms can be on the viewer. These types of form really create a completely new environment for the viewer and transport the viewer to a new place completely. Bernini’s David does this spectacularly and fits into the religious iconography code of this time period.
The piece itself stands as a technical marvel in stone. The dynamic pose and the way the slingshot, for example, is so thinly carved as well as many other details truly shows a mastery of stone carving technique. Bernini also had a masterful hand at portraying the human body and this portrayal shows the shift in religion, from a more humanistic iconographic depiction of a ideal human like god form, to a more emotional realistic rendering of humanity as an emotional being. From a visual stand point this David appears older than the previous three David’s by Michelangelo, Verrocchio, and Donatello. It appears to be the most mature David and most masculine out of the four. Bernini also broke out into showing the action in motion that David preformed.
Bernini did a fantastic job in evoking drama to the viewer. The way he developed so many diagonals with the human form is astounding. I also, as sculptor, appreciate that he was able to integrate the cloth/robe that David is “wearing” to make the figure not nude. He is still able to show off how amazing he is at sculpting. It does not make any scenes to me that David would fight Goliath completely naked, granted David did wear no armor, and I think Bernini references this well and tastefully with the covering he used. The cloth, along with the gesture of the body makes the piece capable of being lit from any angle and still look amazing. Bernini incorporated all of these features into the piece which really helps to charge the physical space around the statue, and is apparent how one would want to construct a monumental building to match the grandeur of such a fine piece of art.
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/Bernini-David, retrieved on 2/23/2012
http://www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/edavid.htm, retrieved on 2/23/2012
http://www.sculpturegallery.com/sculpture/david_by_bernini.html, retrieved on 2/23/12