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The Birth of a Masterpiece

时间:2006-11-09 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:nerlly   字体: [ ]

MARGIN13: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: center" align=center>The Birth of a Masterpiece

               -- Michelangelo's David


If ever a work of art had a right to feel over exposed, it is Michelangelo's David, naked in the heart of Florence for nearly 5 centuries. In recent years his 1)manhood has been 2)appropriated for postcards, fridge magnates and even mouse mats. The great figure is of course 3)synonymous with the sculptor1 Michelangelo Buonarrotti, but the marble block that became the David was already being worked on a decade before Michelangelo was even born.

It was 4)extracted from the hostile mountainside high up in the Alpune Alps, some 60 miles north of Florence. 5)Rivalry2 between the city-states of 6)renaissance3 Italy 7)put the story in motion; 8)provoked by the splendors4 of Milan, the Florentine authorities commissioned 9)colossal5 figures to rein6 the rooftop of their 10)Cathedral, a hugely ambitious plan.

It was a man named Agustino Deduchio, an assistant to the 11)renowned7 master sculptor Donetello, who was first commissions to make this David. His plan was to mine 4 separate blocks: one piece for the head, one for each arm and one for the body. The fate of three of the blocks is unknown. Only the stone intended for the 12)torso survived, but in itself it was the first such gigantic marble slab8 to be 13)quarried since the sculptured giants of the Roman Empire were created over a thousand years earlier.

Deduchio had never taken on a project of this size, he was more at home with fairly undemanding reliefs, but he pressed on choosing to creat what appeared to be a clothed David. He carved a lot of 14)drapery on the chest, worked on the feet and made a hole between the legs, but it wasn't long before he was forced to give up, the sheer scale of the marble or perhaps the shallowness of the block defeating him.

It was to be another 12 years before the authorities regained9 the confidence to commission another sculptor to try to make something of this troublesome figure. Antonio Rossolino was a 15)resourceful craftsman10, but he too failed, becoming the second victim of the block's 16)intimidating11 dimensions.

Michelangelo probably did come forward with a wax model and as it were in competition with anybody else who wanted the job, he talked them into allowing him to do the piece. So he got, I think, the commission by sheer competition and by being brilliant.

The David contract gave Michelangelo two years to complete the statue. His fee was fixed12 at three gold 17)florins a month, a good artisan wage.

The piece is too large to work 18)horizontally, so it has to be 19)tackled upright. This means dust and stone raining down onto the sculptor. The shallowness of the marble now poses the greatest challenge. Working on a block as little as 2 feet deep in places, the margin for error is nonexistent. The creation has to be mathematically accurate, or the block will be ruined or the proportions lost. David might even be deprived of balance and crash to the floor in 20 tons of fragments. The architectural solution is a tree trunk carved behind the leg to support the figure while David stands in 20)contrapposto, the position where one leg is kept straight. If the sculptor then drops a 21)plumb14 line from the throat to the foot, gravity will then be satisfied and the statue balanced.

Aside from inspiration, this was hard physical work, often 22)tedious and occupying 14 hours a day and 6 days a week. The powerful young sculptor, a little over five feet tall, must have felt that he was the David, facing a giant enemy.

A year into the commission, the Cathedral elders pay a visit to view the work in progress. They're amazed at what they see, whether they expected a 23)nude15 is questionable16 but were known to have been delighted, they had commissioned a masterpiece after all.
















1) manhood [5mAnhud] n. 男子气概

2) appropriate [E5prEupriit] v. 挪用,盗用

3) synonymous [si5nCnimEs] a. 同义的

4) extract [iks5trAkt] v. 费力地取到

5) rivalry [5raIvElrI] n. 竞争,竞赛

6) renaissance [rE5neisEns] n. 文艺复兴

7) put sth. in motion 使某物开始运转

8) provoke [prE5vEuk] v. 煽动,惹起

9) colossal [kE5lCsl] a. 巨大的,庞大的

10) cathedral [kE5Wi:drEl] n. 大教堂

11) renowned [rI5naJnd] a. 有名的,有声誉的

12) torso [5tC:sEu] n. 裸体雕像的躯干部分

13) quarry17 [5kwCri] v. 挖出,苦心找出

14) drapery [5dreipEri] n. 织物,布料

15) resourceful [ri5sC:sful] a. 足智多谋的

16) intimidating [in5timideitiN] a. 威胁的,恐吓的

17) florin [5flCrin] n. 弗罗林,一种金币

18) horizontally [7hCri5zCntli] adv. 地平地,水平地

19) tackle [5tAkl] v. 固定,处理

20) contrapposto [7kCntrE5pCstE] n.(雕塑或绘画中以对立方式表现出人体各部分的)对应

21) plumb line 用铅垂线检查垂直度

22) tedious [5ti:diEs] a. 单调乏味的

23) nude [nju:d] n. 裸体



1 sculptor 8Dyz4     
  • A sculptor forms her material.雕塑家把材料塑造成雕塑品。
  • The sculptor rounded the clay into a sphere.那位雕塑家把黏土做成了一个球状。
2 rivalry tXExd     
  • The quarrel originated in rivalry between the two families.这次争吵是两家不和引起的。
  • He had a lot of rivalry with his brothers and sisters.他和兄弟姐妹间经常较劲。
3 renaissance PBdzl     
  • The Renaissance was an epoch of unparalleled cultural achievement.文艺复兴是一个文化上取得空前成就的时代。
  • The theme of the conference is renaissance Europe.大会的主题是文艺复兴时期的欧洲。
4 splendors 9604948927e16d12b7c4507da39c016a     
n.华丽( splendor的名词复数 );壮丽;光辉;显赫
  • The sun rose presently and sent its unobstructed splendors over the land. 没多大工夫,太阳就出来了,毫无阻碍,把它的光华异彩散布在大地之上。 来自辞典例句
  • Her mortal frame could not endure the splendors of the immortal radiance. 她那世人的肉身禁不住炽热的神光。 来自辞典例句
5 colossal sbwyJ     
  • There has been a colossal waste of public money.一直存在巨大的公款浪费。
  • Some of the tall buildings in that city are colossal.那座城市里的一些高层建筑很庞大。
6 rein xVsxs     
  • The horse answered to the slightest pull on the rein.只要缰绳轻轻一拉,马就作出反应。
  • He never drew rein for a moment till he reached the river.他一刻不停地一直跑到河边。
7 renowned okSzVe     
  • He is one of the world's renowned writers.他是世界上知名的作家之一。
  • She is renowned for her advocacy of human rights.她以提倡人权而闻名。
8 slab BTKz3     
  • This heavy slab of oak now stood between the bomb and Hitler.这时笨重的橡木厚板就横在炸弹和希特勒之间了。
  • The monument consists of two vertical pillars supporting a horizontal slab.这座纪念碑由两根垂直的柱体构成,它们共同支撑着一块平板。
9 regained 51ada49e953b830c8bd8fddd6bcd03aa     
复得( regain的过去式和过去分词 ); 赢回; 重回; 复至某地
  • The majority of the people in the world have regained their liberty. 世界上大多数人已重获自由。
  • She hesitated briefly but quickly regained her poise. 她犹豫片刻,但很快恢复了镇静。
10 craftsman ozyxB     
  • A cabinet maker must be a master craftsman.家具木工必须是技艺高超的手艺人。
  • The craftsman is working up the mass of clay into a toy figure.艺人把一团泥捏成玩具形状。
11 intimidating WqUzKy     
vt.恐吓,威胁( intimidate的现在分词)
  • They were accused of intimidating people into voting for them. 他们被控胁迫选民投他们的票。
  • This kind of questioning can be very intimidating to children. 这种问话的方式可能让孩子们非常害怕。
12 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
13 margin 67Mzp     
  • We allowed a margin of 20 minutes in catching the train.我们有20分钟的余地赶火车。
  • The village is situated at the margin of a forest.村子位于森林的边缘。
14 plumb Y2szL     
  • No one could plumb the mystery.没人能看破这秘密。
  • It was unprofitable to plumb that sort of thing.这种事弄个水落石出没有什么好处。
15 nude CHLxF     
  • It's a painting of the Duchess of Alba in the nude.这是一幅阿尔巴公爵夫人的裸体肖像画。
  • She doesn't like nude swimming.她不喜欢裸泳。
16 questionable oScxK     
  • There are still a few questionable points in the case.这个案件还有几个疑点。
  • Your argument is based on a set of questionable assumptions.你的论证建立在一套有问题的假设上。
17 quarry ASbzF     
  • Michelangelo obtained his marble from a quarry.米开朗基罗从采石场获得他的大理石。
  • This mountain was the site for a quarry.这座山曾经有一个采石场。
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