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icreate 03-21-2014 08:54 PM

Stone carver please answer this question
I'm writing a book on 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft. I'm featuring a section on The Digital Michelangelo project and have a question. Professor Levoy talks about the drill marks in the hairline on this section of the David.

Can someone please explain why these would be there. I know nothing about carving in stone or about the process of Michelangelo.

Thanks in advance.

Mack 03-22-2014 11:17 AM

Re: Stone carver please answer this question
My guess is that they are indicators from the "pointing up" process using a smaller original model (maquette) of 'David' (Guy was a hell of a sculptor!!)

Andrew Werby 03-22-2014 02:27 PM

Re: Stone carver please answer this question
They may be from "pointing up", but even if that process wasn't used, the bow drill was an essential tool for Renaissance sculptors. For making things like David's curly hair, the drill was used to get into areas where a chisel wouldn't work. For delicate areas where the impact of the chisel might break off a delicate appendage like a finger, the drill was used first to pierce the web, then the remaining support between the fingers was carefully removed with rasps. Here's an article that talks about this in more detail:

Andrew Werby

Kilkenny 03-25-2014 03:47 PM

Re: Stone carver please answer this question
This is very puzzling. Andrew is right about the use of the drill - in common use at the time. However, the drill marks around or defining hair curls here are odd, and look a little like an attempt to define a line... I would add that the drill was also used at the time to establish the depth of the carving process. One of the problems the sculptor has is retaining an image as he/she carves away at the block. Sculptors have traditionally used the drill to retain the image by drilling at certain points to the level below which they image was then to be carved. In effect, doing the best they could to hold onto a pre-established shape.

It may also be worth adding that the block Michelangelo used to carve the David had already been carved previously, so some of the aspects of the sculpture may not be original to Michelangelo.

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