Standing at a magnificent 17 feet high, Michelangelo’s David is truly a masterpiece and is one of the most beautiful sculptures ever created. At a mere 26 years old, Michelangelo began his work on this piece and completed it at age 30. The level of detail involved in this statue is breathtaking. From David’s hair to the veins running in his hands, the meticulous work involved to create something beautiful like this is absolutely amazing. The world has marveled at its beauty for over 500 years now, but the story of how the statue came to be isn’t as straightforward as one would assume.
David was carved out of a single block of marble that had been neglected for 26 years. The block was originally deemed as useless due to the fact that it had been considered for previous projects but all had fallen through. It was seen as outdated and not worthy of being sculpted. It was huge and hard to handle, weighing in at over 6 tons. It was left outside and was exposed to the harsh elements for an extended period of time. Everyone saw it as unworthy of being made beautiful. Everyone saw it as a waste, except for one man. Michelangelo took a look at that block of marble, worn and broken, and thought, “I can make something beautiful with that.”
Michelangelo won the job of carving the marble by simply convincing the commissioners of the statue that he could do it. Great minds like da Vinci were consulted, but all passed on the opportunity to work with the stone. It took Michelangelo four years to finish the statue, which was originally built to sit atop the dome of the cathedral in Florence, but upon the statue’s completion, people agreed that it was too beautiful to be gazed at from afar (plus the sheer size of the statue made it very difficult to lift up to the top of the dome). 9 different locations were considered instead of the dome, with many worrying that because of the statue’s initial imperfections it should be moved somewhere not totally visible. However, to others, this statue was something beautiful, and it ended up being placed in the Piazza della Signoria, the city’s town hall. A replica stands in its place there today, while the original is housed at the Accademia museum.
One of the most famous sculptures in the world began as nothing more than a block of stone. Even more, that block of stone was rejected for 26 years before it was finally accepted and turned into something beautiful. That’s a story.
We are all blocks of stone, rejected and left to weather the elements. We sometimes see ourselves as useless and unworthy of being made beautiful. But there is always that one artist that looks at us and says, “I can make something beautiful out of that.” I believe that person to be God. God sees us as the rejected block of marble, but instead of saying “the burden of that stone is too heavy” or “it can’t be used”, He takes up the challenge and molds us into the works of art He sees inside of us.
I know that sometimes I look around at my life and all I see are broken pieces. I see hopes crumbled at my feet. But after seeing David today, I realize that those broken pieces are God’s handiwork. God is chiseling away the stone that surrounds the masterpiece He sees. He has His vision for all of our lives, and all it takes is a little work, a little brokenness, and a lot of faith to turn us into something beautiful. It just takes the artist’s powerful hands to mold us into works of art.
The next time you feel beat down, broken, or useless, just remember David. The stone that was rejected for so long eventually was accepted. God always accepts us just the way we are. Beat down, broken, useless, worn, tired of being weathered by the elements. He looks at us and has a vision for who we are meant to be through Him. He looks at the stone that surrounds us and starts to chisel away. The result? Something beautiful.