Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family.The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.
In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as "a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine." A year later, documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art.
A figure of Hercules, also in terracotta, was commissioned from the Florentine sculptor Agostino di Duccio in 1463 and was made perhaps under Donatello's direction.
Eager to continue their project, in 1464, the Operai contracted Agostino to create a sculpture of David.
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