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"David (detail)", Sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564, Italy)
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. It is a 5.17 metre (17 foot) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolise the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.