Hidden treasures

David’s nose and Michelangelo’s stroke of genius

Historical Curiosities
Naso_di_David

David’s nose and Michelangelo’s stroke of genius

What is one of the icons of Florence? Surely majestic David. You can admire it in its original version at the Galleria dell’Accademia or alternatively its copy beautifully displayed in Piazza della Signoria. You should know there are many stories and anecdotes linked to this marvelous piece of work! For now, we'll tell you about one that concerns nothing less than its nose. Yes, exactly the nose of the face of the young man sculpted by Michelangelo.

The events date back to 1504, when the most distinguished authorities of Florence went to the workshop of Michelangelo to admire the mammoth work that, at that point, was almost finished. One of them was the Gonfalonier Pier Sederini, who was known to be a patron of the arts. It was perhaps for this reason and certainly to boast about his knowledge, that he took the liberty to grumble a bit in front of the great sculptor. He pointed out that if the nose had been a little smaller, the whole thing would have looked really perfect.

Well, Michelangelo was famous for his temper but on this occasion, given the political importance of the person in from of him, he refrained from losing it. But he was, nonetheless, a genius and did not want to miss the opportunity to mock unwary Sederini. But he did it with great skill! He agreed to reduce the nose size or so it seemed. Before climbing up, in fact, he picked up a hammer and a chisel and, together with these, some fragments and marble dust off the floor. He began to pretend to reduce its nose: a tap there, a tap there and, meanwhile, he opened his hand slightly and kept dropping the small pieces of marble and dust. It seemed like he was seriously chiseling the nose!

Once finished, he asked Sederini if his change had had the desired effect. The Gonfalonier replied that he had been right to ask for that little change because the statue was now really perfect. Who knows how much Michelangelo laughed up his sleeve! Well, you too can now have a laugh thinking about this story, maybe when looking up-close at the infamous nose. Book our guided tour of the Galleria dell’Accademia and surely you will hear many other curiosities about Michelangelo's masterpiece.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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