David and Perseus in Florence

Please excuse me while I nerd out for a sec

Statue of David and Perseus in Florence

This is one of my favorite pictures from Europe for so many reasons. I love history. I love art. I really love mythology. So I was swept up into a wave of nerdy joy when I realized what I snapped on my phone while hiding from the sun in a shady patch of Florence’s Piazza della Signoria.

The little guy in the corner is a copy of Michelangelo’s David.

If you aren’t familiar with art, this is David as in David and Goliath. If you aren’t familiar with the Bible, David is a little guy who fought a giant with a slingshot. He cuts off the giant’s head and later becomes King of Israel. In this statue, he hasn’t fought yet so you can see a lot of tension in his face. It was originally commissioned to go up on the buttress (big supporting structure thingy) of the cathedral, so it was designed to be seen from 60 ft below.

Then there’s the bronze Perseus.

Here’s the story of Perseus in a nutshell: King hears from an oracle his grandson will overthrow him, naturally, he locks his daughter up in a tower, bummer for the King because Zeus still knocks her up with his “golden rain.” So the King then locks his daughter and grandson (Perseus) up in a chest and casts them off to sea. Luckily, they wash up on the shore of a foreign land where the ruler is totally into Perseus’ mom. Perseus is uber protective so, to keep him busy, the ruler sends him to go chop off the head of the Gorgon (aka Medusa). This is a pretty dangerous task because the Gorgon’s stare will turn you to stone. As you can see in the statue, Perseus won.

Let me connect the dots.

Here a pre-battle David, which was made to be looking down on the city, is looking UP at a post-battle Perseus; almost as if he is looking for guidance on how to complete his own hero’s journey. Also, the bronze Perseus is holding up the Gorgon’s head at the gazing STONE David; like the flesh and blood David has been transformed by Medusa’s stare.

There’s a significant chance that I’m the only one who thinks this is cool.

If you have any of your own accidental photography serendipities, I’d love to see them!

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