Gianlorenzo Bernini 1623.
Borghese Gallery, Rome.
Over 100 years after Michelangelo’s David, Bernini applied many Baroque attributes to his own version. We catch Bernini’s David mid-action, just about to strike a stone at Goliath. His intent is written all over his face: he is not giving up, and he is going to be the victor.
David’s dynamic contrappasto occupies more than one plane. The sculpture can be viewed from many points. Each glimpse one gets of David is full of excitement, determination, and might. The whirlwind of motion makes one check over one’s shoulder to see if Goliath is towering over him, too.
Bernini’s sculpture of David is an example of the mastery of nature, which Baroque artists strived for. Hundreds of studies of human faces, expressions, reactions, and emotions were being documented at this time. Bernini fully encompassed what it must actually feel like to be a young hero up against a giant monster.
Martin, John R. Baroque. New York: Harper & Row. 1977.