In 2013 I was teaching at University and wanted to include a section in 1:1 clay sculpture. I thought the eye of David would be instructive, and the figure on the right in plaster was the industry standard. Yikes. This would be a huge disservice to my students, as aspiring to mediocrity is already way too common in the arts. So I sculpted a better version, pulled a silicon mold, and pulled a group of plaster casts for the students to work from.
Upon standing in front of The David, an understanding of why Michelangelo was considered divinely inspired whollops you with a sense of your own limited ascertainment of reality. That essential trip to Florence excludes most art students from really grasping what art is about, from that distant Laurentian Era when art was alive in the culture and genius was real. For those of us who have made a point of international travel to experience a heightened reality of human accomplishment in the arts, there is a sense of duty to impart a glimmer of appreciation for a world of art that doesn't exist in local experience.
Bringing a sense of anatomical expression similar to musical Color was my ultimate goal. This is the fierce eye, the eye that is sizing up Goliath: it needs to have passion, strength, and determination- with an underlying sense of concern/worry/fear.
Anatomical understanding must be partnered with the motivation of the sublime muscle of art. I really can’t stress this point enough. When working the figure, these are necessarily synonymous. I generally sculpt from the latter, and as the work matures I bridge to my latent remembrance of anatomical structures, or look things up to check myself. Of course, Michelangelo knew this all so well he sculpted fluidly in a native language of anatomical structure as his pure artistic voice. In marble. 16 feet tall. When he was 24. I try not to think about it...