donatello’s david is made in what medium
The bronze version of this statue was as popular as the bronze cast that was completed during the Renaissance. This work of art features David with an enchanting smile, as he stands with his foot on the severed head of Goliath, after the giant’s defeat. This noble youth wears a pair of boots and a hat topped with laurel, and he bears the sword previously owned by Goliath.
The Medici family commissioned the sculpture, and it was placed in the Medici Palace’s courtyard, in Florence. This action showed by the family showed that they are capable of owning the sculpture, which was considered as the symbol of Florence. Since this was considered as a scandalous act during that time, Donatello decided to end the issue by explaining that David‘s identity was merely an ordinary sculpture.
Donatello’s Bronze Statue
The statue, cast in bronze, stands a little over 5-feet in height (159 cm). An illustration of the Biblical story of how the young Jewish fighter David killed the armoured Philistine giant Goliath in single combat, armed only with a sling and a few pebbles, it shows David with an enigmatic smile, standing with his foot on Goliath’s severed head. The young warrior is naked, except for hat and boots, and holds the sword of Goliath in his right hand. Allegedly inspired by classical depictions of the renowned young beauty Antinous, a favourite of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Donatello’s work was the first unsupported standing bronze statue cast during the Renaissance, and the first of three famous Davids: the other two being the more conventional bronze (1475) by Andrea del Verrochio (1436-88), and the famous marble statue of David (1501-4) by Michelangelo (1475-1564). Other versions include the bronze (1470s) by Bartolomeo Bellano (1440-97); and the marble (162324) by Bernini (1598-1680).
7. Although the original bronze David by Donatello remains in Florence, several copies are on display in locations around the world, including a rendition in plaster in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, a marble replica in the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a plaster version in Connecticut’s Slater Museum.
Donatello created two statues depicting David during his career. His very first commissioned work was a marble rendition of the biblical hero created around 1408. It was a fairly traditional piece that Donatello created in his early twenties, and did not feature what would become his trademark naturalism. Its possible that his study of David’s character could have informed his later and much more popular bronze statue of David and the Head of Goliath.
The work was commissioned by Cosimo de’Medici for the Palazzo Medici, but we do not know when during the mid-fifteenth century Donatello cast it. It was originally placed on top of a pedestal in the center of the courtyard in the Palazzo Medici, so the viewer would be looking up at it from below (unlike the view we typically get of it in photographs).
In any case, Donatello’s David is a classic work of Renaissance sculpture, given its Judaeo-Christian subject matter modeled on a classical sculptural type. It was revolutionary for its day – so much so that it did not get copied right away. The idea of the life-sized nude sculpture-in-the-round evidently took some time to sink in and become an acceptable statue type.
The story of David and Goliath comes from 1 Samuel 17. The Israelites are fighting the Philistines, whose champion – Goliath – repeatedly offers to meet the Israelites’ best warrior in single combat to decide the whole battle. None of the trained Israelite soldiers are brave enough to fight the giant Goliath, until David – a shepherd boy who is too young to be a soldier – accepts the challenge. Saul, the Israelite leader, offers David armor and weapons, but the boy is untrained and refuses them. Instead, he goes out with his sling, and confronts the enemy. He hits Goliath in the head with a stone, knocking the giant down, and then grabs Goliath’s sword and cuts off his head. The Philistines withdraw as agreed and the Israelites are saved. David’s special strength comes from God, and the story illustrates the triumph of good over evil. 
The figure has been interpreted in a variety of ways. One has been to suggest that Donatello was homosexual and that he was expressing that sexual attitude through this statue.   A second is to suggest that the work refers to homosocial values in Florentine society without expressing Donatello’s personal tendencies.   However, during the Renaissance sodomy was illegal, and over 14,000 men had been tried in Florence for this crime.  So this homosexual implication would have been dangerous. A third interpretation is that David represents Donatello’s effort to create a unique version of the male nude, to exercise artistic license rather than copy the classical models that had thus far been the sources for the depiction of the male nude in Renaissance art.