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Dr. Soltes has already introduced us to three artistic representations of David by Michelangelo, Donatello and Verrocchio. However, in his art lecture series, Dr. Soltes mentions a fourth: Bernini’s David. What holds these Davids together? First, there is the story from the Bible. Second, there is the idea of capturing an athlete or a hero. We saw all of these motifs in Module Five. What is astounding is that Soltes shows us how Bernini takes the continuity of the hero form and the beauty of the human body to a new level.
In his lectures, Soltes uses the ideas of transformation and continuity to make his argument. He argues that even though all the Davids (listed above) are ostensibly about the same person, the continuity of the famous biblical character is shaken up by each artist's attempt to transform the narrative.
First, there are obvious differences between all four of the works of art. Each of the Davids are of different ages from child, teenager, and adult. In addition, each of the sculptures of David tells a different story of how he killed Goliath. The story tells the same event from different moments in the narrative. So, why does Soltes focus on Bernini in this lecture? In a way, we have come to an interesting point in our journey of art history.
Notice how Soltes takes us back to the Greeks. The Ancient Greek statue of the discus player with his heroic features and chiseled form looks lifeless to the transformation in art. Soltes suggests that even though the discus thrower - while meant to depict an athlete throwing a disc at the Olympics - is a powerful athlete he is missing dynamic movement. In this way, Soltes returns to the continuity of the David story by creating a David that has killed Goliath but the focus is on the transformation brought about by movement.
Secondly, movement - or the representation of movement in art, is the focus of Soltes’s talk. Dr. Soltes remarks that transformation of Bernini’s David is how the artist represents movement in the statue of David. Soltes says that Bernini creates a life-size sculpture in motion. Soltes calls this dynamic movement and it is an effect Bernini experimented with many of his works. Dynamic movement is yet another technique perfected by artists like Bernini which radically have transformed art. Dynamic rhythmos is similar to what Soltes said about how icons gradually changed from static images of the virgin mother to more naturalistic flowing images we saw Soltes remark on in his lectures on the Renaissance....
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