Donatello’s bronze statue of David (circa 1440s) is famous as the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It depicts David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath’s severed head just after defeating the giant. The youth is completely naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, and bears the sword of Goliath.
The statue underwent restoration from June 2007 to November 2008. This was the first time the statue had ever been restored, but concerns about layers of “mineralized waxings” on the surface of the bronze led to the 18-month intervention. The statue was scraped with scalpels (on the non-gilded areas) and lasered (on the gilded areas) to remove surface build-up.