Monday, 29 March 2010

The underdog triumfant

On rare occasions an art piece surpasses itself and the idea of what it represents becomes inseparable with the craft. This is then the making of a masterpiece, and one of the non-desputable masterpieces of the world is Michaelangelo´s David.

I have heard that there are seven core themes that are the root of every story ever told by mankind. Surely the story of David, who defeats Goliath against all odds is one version of the underdog winning against a much stronger opponent. And the theme can really be tracked from the biblical David to Star Wars, Lord of the Ring, Harry Potter, Rainmaker and Erin Brockovich and pretty much any fairytale where heros, ranging from courageous but poor to good-for-nothing but transformed by magic or love, kill the dragon and get the princess. Mix the underdog theme with the one of the love triangle, and you have the recipe to pretty much any romance/ romantic comedy, where the less fortunate gets the girl/boy, in spite of not being as popular, good looking or rich.

The underdog that has been mocked, heckled and ridiculed but that triumfs in the end gives hope to all of those who have ever felt illtreated by fate. We need to aspire to something and we need to have faith that we can overcome our worries. And the story of David gives us just that. This is part of the fascination with "the" David. The fact that it was chiseled over 500 years ago by the 26 year old Michaelangelo, who was hailed as divine during his life time helps. Michaelangelo´s passion and temper for his work were legendary and possibly here the idea of the tortured artist started. So the legend of Michaelangelo contributes to the legend of David. But David himself, standing 5.17 cm proud, pensive, but not afraid, has also become the symbol of the free Florence, resisting the pressure of the enemies, so much stronger than she. The Florentines positioned him so that he faces Rome, their biggest threat. Even if it is a replica that has taken the original´s place, I still believe that David inspires both locals and the masses of tourists that come by.

An interesting book of from the Renaissance period, purely fictive, but nice read nevertheless, is Sarah Dunant´s Birth of Venus, about a artistic noble woman, growing up in Savonarola´s and Michaelangelo´s Florence.