The grand central hall culminates in the celebrated statue of David, framed in a monumental arch.
The David was sculpted by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. Once situated outside Palazzo Vecchio where today you will find a 19th century copy, this huge marble work is a symbol of the liberty of the Florentine Republic.
With a strength of achievement all but unsurpassed, Michelangelo expresses how he who trusts in God alone need fear nothing and no one. The vivid and refined expression conveyed by the head is in strong contrast to the strain you can see in the left arm and torso.
The statues of the prisoners
, which you see before arriving at the David. provide a worthy introduction. They symbolise the prisoners taken during wars of conquest against other city states and were conceived for the tomb of Pope Julius II, a work which was later reduced in size and decoration.
The prisoners are examples of Michelangelo's unfinished works. You can see how their spirits are fighting to free themselves from the stone which is holding them and, if you apply your imagination, you can see how the completed sculptures would have looked.
Another noteworthy example of an unfinished work is the PietÓ, named the Palestrina PietÓ
after the city of Lazio where it was kept until 1940.