Goliath, Circa 1505
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Medicea Accademia Dell'Arte Occulta

SOLO PER USO INTERNO




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Catalog Identification: 1127-[FL]

'Goliath'

Antoni Barazzi

Italy, 1505


Materials: Chiseled white granite, approximately 7.2 meters in height.

Location: Florentine Academy, Italy


Exhibition History:

Florentine Academy, 1505-Present: Stored in an isolated chamber, absent of other sculptures.

Occult Properties:

Goliath is incredibly durable, proving itself to be near impossible to chip or break, save for the severance of its head.

When attached to its body, Goliath was frequently belligerent toward other statuary, perceiving them as rivals, as it often challenged them to one-on-one combat by pointing its javelin in their direction. The action passed on animation to the challenged statue and forced a duel to begin, where Goliath was typically the victor due to its aforementioned invulnerability.

Description:

The piece itself is a sculpture modeled after the biblical Goliath, most widely recognized as the character in the story of "David and Goliath". The head is kept separate to the body, though not an intentional choice of the artist.

Much like the original story, Goliath was made in rivalry to David. Its sculptor, Antoni Barazzi, tasked himself to sculpt the work under two conditions: that it be completed with a difficult to model material and that it be a completed work in one year.1 It has been speculated that Barazzi set these restrictions to demonstrate his ability and claim himself as the better artist, one more deserving of having their work displayed on the top of the Florence Cathedral.2

Barazzi began work on 22 January 1504. In accordance with his restrictions, he chose white granite for his artistic medium. The sculpture had been intended to tower over David, being thematically consistent with the original tale. However, the face of Goliath had been modeled after Julius Caesar, perhaps a flair of style on Barazzi's part.

A year later, 16 January 1505, he had finished the sculpture, though public reception of the work was mixed regarding its completion. Even now, those that have seen it comment on its unusual proportions and bulky torso.

Barazzi was promptly executed following a streak of vandalism and one instance of indirect murder on 20 February 1505.

Provenance:

16 January 1505: Goliath is "completed" and unveiled in Venice; controversy of this claim arises.

20 January 1505: Goliath is sighted wrestling Barazzi's earlier work, Tita, a marble statue of a horse. Goliath is the victor after crushing its head. It then leaves the exhibition hall.

29 January 1505: Goliath traveled to Ferrara, Italy and challenged three marionettes in the middle of a performance. Goliath is declared victor after stomping on each one. A civilian is killed by an errant motion of Goliath's javelin.3

07 February 1505: Goliath challenged a bronze lion sculpture in Bologna, Italy, but chose not to immediately destroy it. Instead, Goliath struck it across the snout a number of times before mounting it and riding it out of Bologna.

10 February 1505: Goliath arrives in Florence atop the lion sculpture. Once within the city, it claims victory after impaling the lion from the mouth to the lower stomach.

10 February 1505: Goliath approaches David at the entrance of the Piazza della Signoria. It challenges David, which becomes animate. Soon after, David claims victory by slinging a ball of marble at Goliath's nose, knocking it over. They both become inanimate once Goliath has been decapitated by David.

10 February 1505: Goliath and its head are transported to the Florentine Academy while David is set back into place at the entrance of the piazza.

Proposal from Tutor A.L., 2019: The Goliath has remained in the basement of the Florentine Academy for five centuries with little display of malice. As such, I believe that it is safe to assume that it will not be wreaking any havoc as long as the head is detached.

I am proposing to the Curator that Goliath be open for public exhibition beginning this year. The history of the object and its connection with the David is of significant merit, one that I firmly believe to be worthy of a proper display.

I await your response, Curator.

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