Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9021
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Baskins , Cristelle L.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Donatello's Bronze 'David': Grillanda, Goliath, Groom? [Art historians have explored many perspectives on Donatello's youthful and androgynous representation of the nude David including psychoanalytic and homoerotic perspectives, but these male centered approaches overlook the possibility of a female audience for the statue. Paintings on contemporary Florentine cassoni (wedding chests), including scenes from the life of David (like his battle with Goliath or his subsequent wedding to a royal bride) or seemingly unrelated depictions of scantily clad males (often painted underneath the lids), establish the possibility of a wedding context for Donatello's sensuous nude. In the context of nuptial imagery, this representation of David might appeal to a prospective bride as well as the narcissistic or homoerotic desire of an imagined male audience. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Studies in Iconography 15, ( 1993): Pages 113 - 134.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Androgyny Art Historians Art History- Sculpture Bride, Image of Bridegroom, Image of Cassoni, Marriage Chests David (Biblical Figure) in Art Donatello, Artist- David Florence Genitals, Display of Homoeroticism in Art Homosexuality Iconography Nude in Art
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
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  • Illustrations: Seven Figures. Figure One Donatello, "David," bronze sculpture, fifteenth century (Florence, Museo Nazionale). David is depicted as young nude man (genitalia fully exposed) with long hair, his left hand on his hip and his right hand holding a sword. He wears only a helmet and boots, and stands over a pile armor, which includes a helmet with a feathered plume which extend up the inside of his right thigh. Figure Two Sando Botticelli, "Purgatory X," late fifteenth century drawing (Berlin, ~~Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Preussischen Kulturbesitz). Dante and his guide view paradigmatic scenes of humility, including the Virgin Mary at kneeling at Annunciation (left), David humbling himself be for the Ark while his bride Michal watches from a window above (center), and the justice of Trajan (right). Figure Three Stratonice Master, "Wedding of ~~Antiochus and Stratonice," fifteenth century (San Marino, Huntington Library and Art Gallery, HEH 26.120). A statue of David, victoriously standing on an elevated pedastal with the head of Goliath at his feet, is ~~prominently displayed in the foreground of the scene of the wedding of Antiochus and Stratonice. Figure Four Pesellino (attributed), "Battle of David and Goliath and Triumph of David and Saul," fifteenth century (London, National Gallery of Art). David faces and defeats Goliath in battle (above), and David and Saul return in triumph as a group of richly clad women await outside the city walls (below). Figure Five Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, "Battle of David and Goliath and Triumph of David and Saul," fifteenth century (Florence, Horne Museum). David faces and defeats Goliath in battle (above), and David and Saul return in triumph as a group of richly clad women await outside the city walls (below). Figure Six Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, "Adimari-Ricasoli Wedding," fifteenth century (Florence, Accademia). An elaborate wedding festival features a procession of richly dressed women, including a bride (on the left, wearing a "grillanda" or bridal wreath), the biblical figure Michal (center, also wearing a "grillanda"). Figure Seven Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, "Reconciliation of the Romans and Sabines" and lid figure, fifteenth century (Copenhagen, Statenmuseum for Kunst). Front side of cassone features a painting of the Romans meeting the Sabines meeting within the walls of the city. Underside of open lid features a youthful man, entirely naked except for a small loincloth. He reclines on the ground and holds flowers in his right hand, his body facing the viewer and his gaze averted toward the ground.
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  • Author's Affiliation: University of Rochester
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1993.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01481029
  • Material/Technique :
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