Monday's Musings - Life Lessons from Michelangelo's David

by Mary Denman
twitter: @marydenman 
Exact replica of The David

I was fortunate enough to see Michelangelo's The David when I visited Florence (Firenze), Italy. The story behind it is amazing and is changing the way I think and operate in life. 

A very brief history. The statue was commissioned originally in 1464 and some rough work was done to the block by Agostino. He worked on it for 2 years. It was then neglected for 10 years. Then Antonio Rossellino worked on it briefly but was quickly terminated from the project. 

Here's where it gets really interesting. The stone was left in a supine position, in the open courtyard where it was started, exposed to the elements for the next 25 years. 25 years. 

The office that had originally commissioned the work finally decided they needed  someone to complete the statue. So they had it set upright and had masters like Leonardo da Vinci and others give their opinion of the stone. 
This is where the original David stood until 1837

But it was Michelangelo who convinced them that he could bring David forth. He was only 26 years old. They agreed to let him do the work. He started in September of 1501. He finished in 1504 after working on it for a little over 2 years. 

Did you notice the timeline? It lay in the courtyard for 25 years. Michelangelo was 26 when he started. He was born and had to grow up to be the one to complete the work. It was as if the project was waiting for him. 

Well, I got to stand in the courtyard where Michelangelo worked. Where that great statue came to life. 

I envisioned the chips of Carrera marble, all over the floor. 
The sounds of the hammer, hitting the chisel. 
The dust, filling the air. 

What did I realize? 

It was impossible for Michelangelo to carve The David in a day. 

Utterly impossible. 

It took him over 2 years of his life to create one of the most acclaimed sculptures of the world. 

How does this relate to my life?

I'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal. 

I want to give 110% or nothing. 

This isn't good. 


Because it hampers me from making progress. If I can't do it "perfectly", or all at once, I tend to not want to do things. 

But I'm learning that a chip is valuable. If I can only chip away a few strokes, that's PROGRESS. 

It's changing my mindset. 
All-or-nothing isn't a good philosophy. 
At least for me. 

I need to celebrate small changes. Small accomplishments. 

So I think back to the courtyard where Michelangelo worked. 

Chipping away at HUGE block of marble. 

Creating, over time, one of the greatest statues ever carved. 

While I may not be known through history like Michelangelo, I can chip away at my life, letting the sculpture God wants to bring out, come forth. 

A few chips at a time. 

Note: The outside pictures I took are of an exact replica of the statue, placed where it stood from 1504 until 1837. The original statue is housed inside and photos weren't allowed when I was there. Note the size of the statue. It's incredible. It's 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) tall. 

TWEETABLE: Life Lessons from Michelangelo's The David (click to tweet)




  1. Excellent post! I love the lessons learned from the statue. I've been in the Plaza by the Uffizi, but we were kind of rushed through with a tour guide. The statues all around the plaza are fabulous.

    1. They are Linda! I have quite a few pictures of them, both in the day and at night! The artwork around Florence is just amazing. I'm glad you learned a lesson from The David as well.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Lovely pictures Mary, how hard and long days must these have taken to be made. Its amazing how much work went into such amazing statues :)

    Thanks for linking up #CreativeMondays