Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
In Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be by Jane Sutcliffe, Michelangelo does just this; discovering David within the giant piece of marble that had troubled the city of Florence for years. Even Leonardo da Vinci refused to work on the block that had been abandoned to the elements by so many sculptors.
The work was an obsession and Michelangelo worked long hours to remove “not-David” and reveal the powerful David that lay within. The choice to portray a strong and capable David reflected the way Florence viewed itself. Florence and David were growing together, both upstart troublemakers in their respective realms, both ultimate success stories. Sutcliffe unites these two storylines to create an art book with broader appeal.
Beautifully illustrated by John Shelley, Stone Giant brings 16th century Florence to life as much as the Michelangelo’s sculpting. The crowd scenes are engaging and the scenes showing the sculpture’s moving day are filled with instructive detail and emotion. The history of daily lives is portrayed alongside the story of magnificent art.
Much beloved from its unveiling in 1504 to today, David stands as a testament to the power of art to help people define themselves. Stone Giant shows the ties between art and its community.