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February 28, 1972

Michelangelo's David

JAMA. 1972;219(9):1212. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190350048020

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To the Editor.—  Ciaglia's concern (218:1304, 1971) about the foreskin of Michelangelo's statue, "David," can only be resolved in Biblical terms. The face and the position of the hands which hold the sling and the pebble are suitable for David meeting Goliath, but the veins on hand and forearm, the gigantic size, and the foreskin are those of Goliath, much older than David and a Philistine, like the 200 whose foreskins David brought to Saul in payment for a bride (I Samuel 18:27).The contract with the Florentines, dated Aug 16, 1501, specified that Michelangelo was to "finish and bring to perfection the male figure known as the Giant" (Travel and Leisure, Dec 1971, p 47). Remembering the Biblical verse "the voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau" (Genesis 27:22), the sculptor gave his statue the size and foreskin of Goliath but the weapons