Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/61
“Now,” replied Soderini, “it pleases me much better. You have given it life.”
Michael Angelo then descended, laughing silently.
We can imagine we can read the sculptor’s silent contempt in this work. It represents tumultuous strength at rest. It is, as it were, swollen with disdain and melancholy. It is smothered within the walls of a museum. It requires the open air, “the light on the square,” as Michael Angelo once put it.
On January 25, 1504, a committee of artists, including Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, Perugino and Leonardo da Vinci, deliberated over the question of the site for the “David.” At the request of Michael Angelo they decided to place it in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The removal of the enormous block was entrusted to the architects of the Cathedral. On the evening of May 14 the marble colossus was brought out from the wooden construction where it was kept, a wall above a door being demolished in doing so. During the night the populace attempted to shatter it with stones and it had to be strongly guarded. Slowly the huge statue—suspended in an
- “Don’t give yourself so much trouble,” said Michael Angelo to a sculptor who was striving to arrange the light in his studio, in order that his work might appear to advantage, “the great essential is the light on the square.”
- The account of the deliberations has been preserved. (Milanesi: “Contratti Artistici,” pp. 620 et seq.) The “David” remained on the spot which had been fixed for it in front of the Palace of the Seigniory until 1873. As the rain had damaged the statue in an alarming manner, it was then removed to a special rotunda (the “Tribuna del David”) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. The “Circolo Artistico” of that city is now proposing (1908) to have a white marble copy made and erected on its old site opposite the Palazzo Vecchio.