New research shows that Michelangelo’s David is holding in his right hand, the remains of a weapon. This weapon known as a fustibal is a staff sling that has a leather strap attached to the end. The study which concluded that the statue is indeed holding a weapon was presented at “Florens 2010: The International Week of Cultural and Environmental Heritage.” This staff-sling weapon was used to throw stones corresponding with David’s role as a biblical hero. In the bible, the story says that he “took up his shepherd’s staff, five smooth stones, and his sling.” The sling is the only of these things represented in the statue. With his left hand, he holds the pouch of the sling above his shoulder. The straps appear to be attached to an unknown item, now speculated to be the handle that the staff would be mounted on, creating the weapon. However, it is believed that the staff was not mounted because the place of display for the statue was changed, and the shepherd staff did not go with the new political meaning of the statue. In its expected display location, atop the Cathedral, the weapon would have remained concealed, with people only seeing the pouch and staff. But, placed in the doorway of the Piazza Signoria on September 8, 1504, it was transformed into a symbol of republican freedom. This study is highly controversial, and other scholars are skeptical. Among the other theories, is the idea that David is holding the handle of the sling, rather than a staff-sling, or Fustibal. 500 years later, Michelangelo’s David is still mysterious and open to new interpretations.
Jaclyn D Period 7