The best thing I saw while I was in Florence last week was hands down, or rather one hand down and one hand with a sling thrown up over the left shoulder, the sculpture of David by Michelangelo.
Michelangelo took this hunk of marble when other artists had rejected it. I’m sure people have made this comparison before, but it is similar to how the subject of his sculpture was the only one in the bible story to step up and say he could help defeat Goliath. Michelangelo was 26 when he started the piece. Way to make me feel like a failure at 28, Mikey.
David is housed in the Accademia Gallery in a dome with a skylight to fully accentuate the masterpiece. You can tell the true art fans from the normal folk while watching crowds of people turn the corner. You have those who look up and smile, knowing that they are seeing the best piece of artwork they’ve probably ever seen. But you also have those who stop in their tracks, whose jaws drop, whose eyes may even tear up a little when they first set their eyes upon the sculpture.
Guess which one I was.
Despite what’s inside, the Accademia is not terribly crowded. David is completely approachable in between tour groups. You can get up close enough to see his weathered (or in my words, “sunburned”) shoulders from when he used to be outside in Piazza della Signoria. You can see the damage done to his left foot from when he was attacked by a crazy person with a hammer in 1991. But most importantly, you can see the incredible work, heart, and soul that Michelangelo breathed into him – the veins, the muscles, the strands of hair, the gaze in his eyes, and of course, his tight buns.