Dropping In On David


Which famous figures – of the stone, metal, and wooden variety – do you dream about visiting in cities afar? Which statues and sculptures are most likely to find themselves on travel bucket lists?



In looking across various search and visit-tracking statistics, you’ll find some common sculpted stars. Should they leap to life, I’d love to see how these protagonists would get along.


Some Key Destination Statues + Sculptures

Michelangelo. 1501-1504. Florence, Italy. La Galleria Dell’Accademia.

The Statue of Liberty
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. 1865-1886. Liberty Island, New York.

Christ The Redeemer
Paul Landowski, Gheorge Leonida, Heitor da Silva Costa, Albert Caquot. 1922-1931. Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Master Lei Yixin. 2007-2011. Washington, DC.

The Raven and the First Men
Bill Reid. 1978-80. MOA. Vancouver, Canada

The Thinker
Auguste Rodin. 🙃 Complex origin story + timeline starting in the 1880s. Multiple casts. Where are you going?

Charging Bull/The Bull of Wall Street
Arturo di Modica. 1987-89. New York City

• Venus de Milo/Aphrodite
Alexandros. ~150 BCE. The Louvre. Paris, France

Maman (the giant spider)
Louise Bourgeois. 1999, cast 2003. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa

The Little Mermaid
Edvard Eriksen. 1909-1913. Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Terrace of the Lions
Dedicated to Apollo by creators from Naxos. ~600 BCE. Delos, Greece.

Michelangelo. 1498-99. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy.



And what do we know about the first entry in our destination statue and sculpture list: the mighty, Goliath-slaying David?

Michelangelo was unique in his sculpting approach. Most of the Italian Renaissance sculptors would create sample models first. It is not until they were satisfied with their prototypes that they would set into the unforgiving marble.

Michelangelo, once again, stood apart. In creating David, he started chipping at the Carrara marble right away.

And this was a twice rejected, hard luck piece of bashed up marble. Originally shipped to Florence from the Fantiscritti quarry in Carrara, this particular block had been assailed and abandoned by two other sculptors: Agostino de Duccio, and Antonio Rossellino.

But, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was determined. He felt that a restless figure was imprisoned inside this glorious rock and it was his job to liberate them. As he said: ‘Every block of stone has a statue inside of it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.’


A 22 year old Raphael sketches Michelangelo’s David. 1505-1508
© The Trustees of the British Museum


Gradually – as Michelangelo did his work from September of 1501 to May of 1504 – more and more captive body parts were freed from their rock prison. Those huge hands of young David must have been impatient to break out and take on Goliath.

Thanks to Michelangelo’s persistence, we now see David with his jugular vein engorged, a sling over his left shoulder, and a stone in his right hand, ready for battle.

At over 17 feet tall and weighing more than six tons, David now stands in the Accademia Gallery of Florence, or Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze.


Header Photo: Sean Robertson


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