Old Testament Figure

When King David entered the city of Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant for the first time, he was so overcome with joy and triumph, that he danced naked in the streets unashamed, with his genitals exposed for slave girls and his servants.  Michelangelo sculpted his statue of David depicting him before the battle that he was in with Goliath, showing his beautiful naked body, alert and ready for combat.  Michelangelo did not have the freedom to pick and choose his sculptures, whither he went and what he made.  He was told what to paint and what to sculpt by Julius II, pope of Rome at the time and the Medici, ruling family of Florence.  An enormous block of marble laid abandoned for 25 years in a courtyard because the two artists who were originally commissioned to work the marble, thought it had too many imperfections, so Michelangelo was hired to complete the project.  The 26 years old Michelangelo worked on this masterpiece and he did not do this project in haste, as it became a two-year journey for him, and finally David was hewn from the marble block.

The phrase “you don’t know jack” has been used for decades to say that someone knows very little, but Michelangelo understood anatomy, because when he was just seventeen, he started his dissecting cadavers.  Michelangelo could sculpt veins and muscles knowing where muscles, tendons and veins led in the human body.  He chose not to hide the perfection of the human body under clothing.  The noble, beautiful and heroic statue scandalized the artist’s fellow Florentines and the Catholic clergy when it was unveiled, and it did not take a detective to realize that the vision of his precious manhood on display was something that displeased them.  It was not a phenomenon that soon after, the figure’s sculpted phallus was girdled with a garland of bronze fig leaves by the authorities.  60 years later, it was considered to be a matter of taste to utilize loincloths, foliage, and fig leaves on all nude works of art, especially those showing genitalia below the waist.

The block of marble came from a quarry in Carrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany and the Carrara quarries have been prized since the days of the Roman Empire.  Geology is a study of rocks and how they form over time, and marble originates from marine organisms that leave behind their calcite-rich shells when they die.  Carrara, Italy is referred to as the marble mecca of the world and the quarry keeps getting steeper to climb out of, as more marble is sliced up, hauled out, and shipped away block by precious block.

Adam and Eve were shamed by their nudity after eating from the tree of knowledge, and being cast out of the Garden of Eden, so they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons to hide their nudity.  Typically, most of the Greek, Italian and Roman statues had small flaccid penises and some historians say that that David had a small penis because he was shriveled by the fear of facing Goliath in battle.  Nudity should be admired, valued and appreciated just as one would enjoy a snack along the starlit way to Rome.

Written for Tyler M Deal 5 Words Prompt – Journey Steeper Geology Whither Phenomenon, for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Precious, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Snack, for the Daily Spur prompt – Vision, for FOWC with Fandango – Detective, for December Writing Prompts – Along the starlit way, for Ragtag Community – Hewn, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Taste Waist Haste and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Jack.

5 thoughts on “Old Testament Figure

      1. Exactly so. I’m writing at the moment on moral panics, and I came across a short documentary on the evolution of the Parental Advisory on music, and the genealogy beginning with Plato, to the US comic book issue, and The Hollywood Code, followed by Tipper Gore and friends. Gasp.

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