Michelangelo’s Sculptures: The David

Michelangelo’s Sculptures: The David

Nov 15
Michelangelo’s Sculptures: The David

While on the subject of the sculptures of Michelangelo and his misconceptions about Jews, it seems a good time to talk about what may be arguably his most famous sculpture, The David.

The sculpture of David was originally intended to be part of a dozen statues of Old Testament figures for the buttresses of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore.  This started in 1410, about 65 years before Michelangelo Buonarroti was born.  The massive block of Carrara marble passed through several sculptors before being awarded to the 26 year old Michelangelo.  It took about 2 ½ years to sculpt and was obviously never used for the buttresses.  The statue originally stood next to the Palazzo Vecchio, the Town Hall of Florence, with his eyes pointing towards Rome.  Florence was an independent city-state surrounded by more powerful rivals.  It is believed that the statue is of David about to go forth and face his much greater foe, Goliath.  David is a hero who slays the giant.  This is clearly a political statement that Florence intended to defend their civil liberties and wanted to send the message that like David, Florence could slay their much larger and greater opponents.  In 1873, David was moved to its current location in the Accademia Gallery.

So what’s wrong with the statue?  Well, we don’t know what David looked like.  We know he was smaller than Goliath, but not much more.  We do know two things from the Bible.  First, David had red hair.  This suggests that his complexion must have been fair.  This first item is of course meaningless when sculpting out of white Carrera marble.  But Second, we know David was JEWISH!

Michelangelo: The David – Uncircumcised

So here’s the problem, Michelangelo’s David is uncircumcised.  It is not possible that David is Jewish and he is uncircumcised.  Ritual circumcision, or Brit Milah, is mandatory on the 8th day after birth.  Brit Milah means “covenant of circumcision”; in other words, a man cannot enter the Jewish covenant with God without being circumcised.  This is such an important commandment that the Bris is to be performed even on the Sabbath when many other activities are forbidden because of the sanctity of the day.  God ordered Moses to go down to Egypt and say unto Pharoah, let My people go.  But before Moses got to Egypt, God stopped Moses and afflicted him so heavily that Moses was in danger of dying.  The crime that so angered God was that Moses’ son, it is unclear whether Gershom or Eliezer, being half Midian, was not circumcised.  Zipporah, fearing for the life of her husband, performed the circumcision herself.  Zipporah cut off the foreskin, cast it at his (not sure if “his” means Moses or the son’s) feet, and declared “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!”  At this point Moses recovered and continued down to Egypt.  I repeat, you cannot be a Jewish male over the age of 8 days and be uncircumcised.

So once again we see that Michelangelo sculpted a major figure in Jewish history without proper background or understanding.  The ONLY detail that could have been historically accurate was mistaken.

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