Bernini and Why He is Baroque

            I will attempt to compare Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini’s respective David sculptures, and how Bernini’s is a reflection of the Baroque period.

            The first thing that strikes my eye is the pose the artist chooses to place his figure. Michelangelo depicts David before the battle with Goliath, and he’s just standing there (like a pose of a model for the cameras). Donatello chose to depict David after his great victory, hence David resting his foot on the head of the giant, but it also seems very posed. Then we get to Bernini. His David is right in the middle of the battle. The artist attempts to transport us right to the moment of action. Like we discussed in class, he’s asking the viewers, “What would it have really been like to be there?” His David is not posing for the camera, like a portrait, this is more like a picture a sports photographer would take in our day. It’s candid.

            Aside from the pose, the figures from both Michelangelo’s, and Donatello’s sculptures do not elicit a very strong emotional response. They also don’t try to depict much emotion. The facial either preparing to do battle, or one who just came off conqueror. Bernini’s however, if full of emotion. David is expressing the effort it’s taking him to sling the stone; you get the sense of focus and determination from the furrow of his brow and the clenching of the jaw. The entire piece is sculpted with curved rather than straight lines, naturally drawing your eyes into the piece. Bernini also uses a lot more environmental elements in his sculpture portraying the armor David refused to wear, thus adding to the reason David was heroic, unafraid, and full of faith. All in all, there is much more detail to Bernini’s David. Again, like we discussed in class the author is saying, “Look at me, look how good I am.”

Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo’s David
Donatello's David
Donatello’s David
Bernini's David
Bernini’s David


Posted in Art

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