Michelangelo's David (c. 1501-1504) is the work that he is most know for. The statue measures 17 feet tall and is made from a slab of marble. Michelangelo made this for the powerful Medici family, who had been maintaining a pattern of using images of King David to represent their own might and control over Florence. While many artist, like Donatello, chose to portray an image of David after slaying the giant, Michelangelo chose to represent the man right before the fight. His sling is empty and David is about to pick up his rocks and engage Goliath. He is not entirely confident in his chances against the giant. This can best be seen in the image of David's face below.
The face tells the whole story in this sculpture. His eyes show a level of worry and fear. They are the eyes of a man that would truly need the power of God to allow him to win. Without a face-to-face view of the statue, David looks far more confident. Perhaps displaying that with God on his side, he can weather any storm. This was probably the intention of the artist, as the sculpture was meant to be placed higher up in the Florentine Cathedral, instead of outside the Palazzo della Signoria. David's hands also depict his desired home, as they are larger than usual. Michelangelo knew that the hands could look small if viewed from below, so he purposely made them larger than scale to trick the eye. David looks powerful, healthy and strong from below. This dictates that below, where the view is, he is known as a man of great achievement and piety. As a man that was always too heavy-handed to get attempt sculpture, I find Michelangelo's David to mystifying. Along with his work on the Pietà, this gives proof that he was not only one of the best sculptors of his time, but one of the best throughout history.
Biography of Michelangelo
A Gallery of all Michelangelo's artwork