Why is the “pisello” on Michelangelo’s David so…small?

Michelangelo's Sculpture of David
Photo by Rico Heil

When you visit Florence and view Michelangelo’s sculpture of David, you might notice that his “pisello” is a little…bit.

Legend declares that Michelangelo intended for his marble sculpture of David to representation the perfect male form. If so, why did Michelangelo not make David better endowed?

It’s no joke–well, actually, the mocking postcards found in every Florence tourist shop declare otherwise.

But at least two Florentine doctors took the question seriously and offer an explanation: Michelangelo was depicting a deeply fearful but determined David confronting the overwhelming Goliath.  And as a great anatomist, Michelangelo knew how the body responded to fear, and one of those responses is, as study author Pietro Antonio Bernabeiput it:

a contraction of the reproductive organs.”

via Was David scared stiff of Goliath? – Arts – www.theage.com.au.

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