It is only when you see the stunning statues created by Michelangelo in person that you begin to understand the genius of the famous Italian Renaissance sculptor and painter. |
Make sure that, as part of any of the Florence tours you choose, you get time to visit the Accademia, the only museum in the city where you can stand face to face with some of his most famous creations.
We highlight some of the unmissable works that you’ll have a chance to experience in the museum when you visit.
Statue of David
Almost certainly the most famous of Michelangelo’s statues, and one which is included on most Florence tours, is his marble nude statue of the biblical character David. Created between 1501 and 1504 (when the artist was around 21 years old) and towering at over five metres, the giant statue was commissioned for the Cathedral of Florence.
The Florentine people loved the statue as they felt it reflected their own position as a small independent state battling the giant might of the larger states which surrounded it, and the work ended up in the main city square. It is said that it was positioned so that David’s glare was turned towards Rome.
Four statues twisted under the weight of slavery make up the subject of Michelangelo’s The Slaves. The fascinating thing about these sculptures is their unfinished nature. The four slaves seem to be still wrestling to emerge from the blocks of marble from which they’re hewn; many believe this represents man’s futile struggle to free his mind from the weight of the material world.
Started in 1505 but never completed, the statue, measuring 271cm in height, of Saint Matthew is believed to have been planned as part of series of statues of the Apostles created for Florence Cathedral. Michelangelo was called to Rome before he could finish it but it still remains a moving depiction of the saint and contains the hallmark depiction of muscles and bodily features for which the artist was already famous.
Pieta di Palestrina
A work of art which is today often ignored on many Florence tours is the now discredited Pieta di Palestrina. Originally thought to have been the work of Michelangelo the sculpture (dated to around 1555) is still a beautiful depiction of Christ’s body being taken down from the cross. It’s worth checking out just to see if you can spot the differences between this and Michelangelo’s authenticated work.
The ability to stand next to these classic artworks and examine the detail with which the Renaissance master created his sculptures is a fantastic opportunity. To make the most of it be sure that you don’t end up on one of those Florence tours that whisks you around the museum so fast you hardly have time to stop.
At ArtViva we understand that really looking at these artworks is why you’re here and our guides will do their best to answer all your questions and fill in any blanks you might have about the artists, their history or their specific works.
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group Florence tours and experiences, from guided visits to view the masterpieces of the great art galleries to unforgettable Italian cookery and art classes.
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