Goldsmiths and Michelangelo’s ‘David’

11 02 2012

A dear friend has lent me an amazing book: “The Lost Battles – Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance” (by Jonathan Jones, ISBN 978-0-74328-539-1).

The title is pretty self-explanatory – though it is a ‘battle’ that I had little knowledge of, as I haven’t previously studied this period in-depth. Though after recently visiting the ‘Renaissance’ exhibition at the National Gallery, and seeing a few documentaries of the era, I have been expanding my knowledge.

While I’m only barely a quarter of the way through the significantly sized book, I couldn’t wait to share this lovely little bit of information.

On the 25th January 1504 an important meeting was called in Florence, to debate and decide where Michelangelo’s new ‘David’ statue would be positioned. Participants included Leonard da Vinci of course, some eminent painters etc …. and goldsmiths Michelangelo Bandinelli, Andrea il Riccio, Ludovico, and jeweller Salvestro [p.71-3].

Pretty great yes?! The esteem in which these men were held is fabulous.

Another little connection to the goldsmiths is that the “statue at one point contained gold; the tree stump was gilded in 1504 and there was also a gilt garland on the figure’s head. These adornments have since been lost.” [wiki]

Upon further research, the below listing is also provided as the goldsmiths / jewellers gathered for this purpose [source; and here too]:

  • Michelangelo Bandinelli, goldsmith
  • Guasparre di Simone, goldsmith
  • Ludovico, goldsmith and master of bronze casting
  • Andrea, called il Riccio, goldsmith
  • Salvestro, worker in precious stones

These two sources also details the input of each man. Interesting.

I have tried to find images of the work of each of these men – sadly though, they seem to be lesser lights of the period. Researching and new knowledge is fun!

To finish off this story in style, one of my favourite angles of the ‘David‘ sculpture.

David's best angle; I took this myself in 1999



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