Real Height of David

The Florence Marble David:

Until the year 2000, all history books (for some hundreds of years) mention that the height of Michelangelo's marble David in the Accademia in Florence, measures 434 cm (without his pedestal, but including the carved rock on which he is standing) .

Then, in February and March 1999, a group of Stanford University scientists were allowed to make scans of David and to their surprise they discover that their tower was too short. See pic left below. Here is their story:

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click to enlarge

<< Our Cyberware gantry can be reconfigured to scan objects of any height from 2 feet to 24 feet. These reconfigurations, which involve removing one or more pieces of the tower, take several hours. In this photograph the gantry is at maximum height. The 2' truss section roughly level with David's foot was added at the last minute after we discovered, much to our horror, that the statue was taller than we thought. (We designed our gantry according the height given in Charles De Tolnay's 5-volume study of Michelangelo.

This height was echoed in every other book we checked, so we assumed it was correct. It was wrong. The David is not 434cm without his pedestal; he is 517cm, an error of nearly 3 feet!)

The height of the David is 497 cm from head to toe (i.e. without the carved rock on which he is standing.) >>

The Ringling Museum Bronze David:

Some Ringling Museum docent material states that David was cast in bronze from a mold, made from the real David, made in 1874 as part of a celebration of Michelangelo's 400 year Birthday. Two other "Davids" cast from the same mold have prominent positions - one overlooks Florence in the Piazzale Michelangelo and the other is part of the Vatican Collection in Rome.

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The Ringling Museum's bronze David measures 16 ft 3 3/4 inches
(497 cm) from top of head to bottom of bronze base, (measurements by P. Chalmer and K. Losh 10/23/85. Docent class info 2000).
The bronze sculpture is set in a bed of 6 cm cement, stained in the same color as the bronze.

The shrinkage of a bronze cast is dependent on several factors, but literature indicates that it is approximately 1/8 inch per linear foot. In David's case, that would be some 2 inches. Therefore, one would expect that a bronze sculpture made from a mold of the real marble David, including the 8 inch rock on which he stands, would need to be approx. 512 cm tall. However, the museum's bronze is 15 cm shorter. Therefore, one might conclude that it is a copy of a bronze copy of the marble David, shrinking some 2 inches with each new cast.

The present Chiurazzi Foundry's  literature mentions that bronze David sculptures can be purchased, which have been molded from "a marble sculpture". They do not specify the origin.

Michelangelo's sculpture in Florence

Ringling Museum's bronze cast

More Information like the above.