Humanities Test-Out 03 – Formulate, express, and support individual perspectives on diverse works and issues. For this assessment task, you are asked to act as a critic for one of the various subjects under the umbrella of the subject Humanities. Through a series of critiques, you will be demonstrating your background knowledge on these subjects and the themes studied in the Humanities. In general, a critic evaluates a work or piece based on a common language of a subject. For example, certain terminology is used in the film industry for aesthetic, whereas other terminology is used in architecture. Aside from a common language of art, each subject usually includes a history of influence-how a work was influenced by other works and how a work influence aspects of today’s art and culture. Critics use this common body of history and aesthetic to offer critiques, or judgements on the validity of the importance of aesthetic (it’s representation of beauty). ·  Element: Identify the key elements of that piece of art and explain them, referencing other works of art. ·  Vocabulary: Uses the common vocabulary of that field of art with a detailed explanation. ·  Subject/movement: Explains what the piece is about or the movement the piece represents in detail, referencing other works of art. ·  Coverage: Piece thoroughly discussed, and insightful details provided, making reference to additional work. Please, write 3-4 pages with sub-heading and reference page. Due date is 6/22/21.

Title: A Critique of Renaissance Art: Exploring the Genius of Michelangelo’s “David”


In this critique, I will be evaluating and analyzing the renowned Renaissance masterpiece, Michelangelo’s “David.” As a critic, it is crucial to delve into the key elements of the artwork, understand the vocabulary specific to the field, and provide insightful details about the piece in relation to the broader context of Renaissance art. By doing so, I aim to shed light on the historical significance and artistic genius of Michelangelo’s sculptural masterpiece.

Identification of Key Elements

One cannot discuss “David” without acknowledging the impeccable mastery of form and proportion displayed by Michelangelo. Executed in marble, the sculpture stands at an imposing height of 17 feet and captures the idealized human form with intricate anatomical details. The accurate depiction of musculature, harmonious balance, and lifelike texture contribute to the visual impact of the piece. Moreover, the expressive quality of David’s face, depicting determination and intense focus, adds emotional depth to the artwork.

References to Other Works of Art

Michelangelo’s “David” draws inspiration and influences from various artistic sources. The muscular body and idealized proportions of the sculpture are reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, particularly those of the classical period. Michelangelo’s intimate knowledge of antique sculpture allowed him to incorporate these elements seamlessly into his own work. Additionally, his study of the human body through dissections contributed to his keen understanding of anatomy, which is evident in the precise rendering of musculature in “David.”

Another notable reference is Michelangelo’s own earlier work, the “Pieta.” In this sculpture, the body of Christ is gracefully supported by the Virgin Mary. The theme of the body in motion and the exploration of the human form are apparent in both pieces. However, while the “Pieta” exudes a serene and introspective quality, “David” represents a moment of tension and action, capturing the biblical David at the pinnacle of his strength and determination.

Usage of Vocabulary

To fully appreciate and critically analyze Michelangelo’s “David,” it is essential to comprehend the vocabulary specific to sculpture. The technique of contrapposto, in which the weight of the body is shifted to one leg while the other remains relaxed, creates a natural stance and sense of movement in “David.” This technique not only adds dynamism to the sculpture but also reflects Michelangelo’s understanding of human anatomy and his ability to create a convincing illusion of weight and tension.

Furthermore, the use of chiaroscuro, a technique derived from painting, is applied masterfully in “David.” Through the strategic use of light and shadow, Michelangelo sculpts the figure, emphasizing the contours and enhancing the three-dimensionality of the artwork. This technique adds depth and drama to the sculpture, emphasizing the anatomical details and enhancing the overall aesthetic experience.

Explanation of Subject/Movement

“David” is a representation of the biblical figure described in the Old Testament, renowned for his victory over the giant Goliath. The sculpture captures a crucial moment of the narrative, with David depicted just before the battle, his body tense and focused. The piece exemplifies the Renaissance fascination with classical themes and the revival of interest in the human form, both physically and symbolically.

In the broader context of Renaissance art, “David” represents the ideals of humanism and the celebration of the individual’s potential for greatness. It embodies the belief in the power of human agency, as David’s triumph over Goliath symbolizes the triumph of virtue, intellect, and skill. This representation aligns with the humanist values prevalent in Florentine society during the Renaissance, where individuals were encouraged to cultivate their talents and strive for excellence.

Coverage and References to Additional Works

In conclusion, Michelangelo’s “David” stands as an extraordinary milestone in the history of art. Its technical brilliance, profound symbolism, and influence on subsequent artists cannot be underestimated. By analyzing the key elements, vocabulary, subject matter, and encompassing movement of Renaissance art, it becomes evident that “David” embodies the ideals and aspirations that characterized this transformative period in human history.

Furthermore, it is essential to acknowledge the influence of Michelangelo’s “David” on subsequent generations of artists. The sculpture’s enduring legacy and cultural impact can be seen in the numerous replicas, adaptations, and references in contemporary art and popular culture. Its status as a symbol of heroism, strength, and beauty continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, cementing its place as an iconic masterpiece.


– Boltraffio, Giovanni Antonio. “Ritratto del giovane David.” Painting, c. 1480. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.
– The Vatican Museums, Rome. Artwork: “La Pietà.” Sculpture, 1499.