Michelangelo was only 26 years old in 1501, but he was already the most famous and highest paid artist. He accepted a challenge, brought forth by the Opera del Duomo, to sculpt a large-scale King David statue. 

He worked constantly for over two years to create one of his most breathtaking masterpieces out  of white marble. It was intended to be one of a series of large statues to be displayed around the Cathedral of Florence. 

In the Bible, King David was thought to be, “strong of hand.” According to art critics, this is shown by the over-sized right hand on the David statue. But one question lingers in the minds of art critics everywhere, what is David gripping so tightly in his right hand?

The Bible tells the story of him wielding nothing but five smooth stones and a sling. What is it about this statue that makes people doubt him clutching a rock?

According to The Seeker, “We believe the object is actually the handle to which a staff had to be mounted, much alike a golf pole.” 

In addition to the large, detailed vein in his right hand, apparently, there is also a large, bulging vein on the right side of his neck.

Now, for those who don’t know, David was celebrated as a Biblical Hero.

The initial idea was that Michelangelo would depict him as such. But there are medical professionals who have argued that the vein in his neck supports him as having significant heart disease.

There are many people who discount this medical diagnosis. To them, they think that the vein in David’s neck simply shows  he is excited.

When people are excited and full of adrenaline, bulging veins can happen. 

So, help us solve these still talked about questions.

What is David clutching in his hand? Is it one of the smooth stones referenced in the Bible?

Or is it some sort of other weapon?

I wonder if, with this question, perception is key. What one thinks it is, is exactly what they will see.

And what about that vein in his neck? Was that an inadvertent detail that means nothing?

Was David so full of excitement and adrenaline that his blood was pumping hard? Or maybe he really was gravely ill with heart disease. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Baptist, Catholic or Episcopalian. What matters is that you love art.

Religion or no religion, we can all read these questions and decide what we think is going on.

In the end, we won’t ever really know if we are right.

Maybe you live in Italy and can go see this beauty in person. How lucky are you!

We’d love for you to share with us your interpretation of these questions. If you aren’t in Italy, that’s okay too.

We still want your interpretation of this iconic statue.

Comment below or head on over to Her Blaze and share your thoughts! Remember, these are often talked about art questions and conspiracies.

There is no right or wrong answer, just a lot of art loving people with different perspectives! 

Thank You for reading Her Blaze Blog!

One thought

  1. Wow wow wow….great blog. I think the medical professionals are full of it. Wasn’t David a teen when he fought Goliath and needed those stones. I believe it’s the final stone that struck Goliath, I imagine he was meditating on this final stone and manifesting a victory.

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