Donatello’s Bronze “David” and “Judith” as Metaphors | Questions

Q1. The placement of Donatello’s bronze David and Judith and Holofernes in the Medici Palace courtyard and garden was of critical importance as it served to place emphasis on republican themes. The two sculptures exhibited certain similarities according to the author, originally designed to be pendants. They represented the Florentine liberty. The placement of the sculptures reminded the people that Medici had taken over their liberty (McHam 32).

Q2. The author argues that there are existing manuscripts that concerned a god who made the fighters victory against their enemies in a war to defend their fatherland. The manuscripts served to reveal that inscriptions added to the existing scriptures had a political message to the people of Florence (34).

Q3. Judith is an Old Testament hero who had an outstanding strong character. Her story is in the book of Judith, and she promoted morality in society. However, she killed Holofernes, who challenged the Jewish people. She is depicted as a respectable woman covered from head to toe while Holofernes is naked. She is a representative of an individual willing to fight for her people. Donatello narrates the story of Judith, highlighting how she killed Holofernes (35).

Q4. One of the tyrannicides was the case of Hippias of Athens and his attempted murder, a factor that led to democracy. The second case is that of Julius Caesar of Rome and his assassination that led to a crisis. Donatello considers the tyrannicides as legitimate and represents them in his nude monument that seems to be ready to attack (36).

Q5. Pliny is the author who focused on describing the tyrannicides above, highlighting their historical importance. He also revealed that the two cases were represented in bronze sculptures. According to Pliny, the inscriptions on the sculptures led to the immortalization of Harmodios and Aristogeiton. The placement of the sculptures of David and Judith in a private garden followed the concept described by Pliny (38).

Q6. The sculptures placed in the Medici palace served as a repeat of Athenian sculptures because they represent political themes and are placed in private homes. In addition, the poses in the sculptures are similar to those evident in the Athenian sculptures (38).

Q7. Donatello depicts the unprecedented emphasis on both murder and decapitation, aspects that reflect the contemporary effect of John of Salisbury’s Policraticus. The Policraticus represented a treatise signed by the government and written by a theologian in the 12th century. John of Salisbury focused on topics such as political legitimacy that served to increase the popularity of the Policraticus. The Policraticus would become highly influential on political thought, philosophy ad legal theories. The Policraticus was regarded highly in Europe and was used by Thomas Aquinas (39).

Q8. Both Donatello’s Judith and the discussions presented by John of Salisbury reflect the killing of Holofernes. Both sculptures represent the killing in a dramatic version. The inscriptions on the sculpture of Judith represent the tyrannicides emphasizing their legitimacy and moral justification. The decapitation represented in the sculpture serves to highlight what John describes as a justified killing in reference to the murder of Holofernes by Judith. According to John, individuals with characteristics of Holofernes deserve to die by the sword (41).

Q9. The fact that Donatello relied on a powerful message in promoting the political agenda concerning the Florentine liberty was because he was aware that many Florentines were against the ideology (41).

Q10. In addition to Donatello’s structure, there were two ancient statues of Marsyas also present in the Medici garden. The statues also represented the agenda of Florentine liberty (42).


Work Cited
McHam, Sarah Blake. Donatellos Bronze “David” And “Judith” As Metaphors of Medici Rule In Florence. The Art Bulletin 83.1 (2001): 32. Web.

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