Document Type

Research Paper


It is a peculiar fact that almost every piece of artwork ever created has attached to it a piece of text.' Originally, at least, most works are given a title for the purpose of referring to what it is. Later, this body of text begins to grow as critical work is written and attached to it by the use of the title. A consequence of this is that text connected to a piece of artwork becomes significant to the piece itself and can even be reinterpreted and critiqued as though it were part of the original work. For example, there is a chunk of marble that, at the time of this writing, is positioned inside of the Florence's Accademia Art Gallery; it is very beautiful, for it was carved into the shape of a man, though immensely tall, by an expert artist.' However, it is not until specific words are attached to this marble that it becomes recognizable, specifically, when the artist is named as Michelangelo Buonarroti and the work is named David (Figure 1 ). These words become "signifiers" that are attached to and interact with the piece itself. 3 This fact functions as the most immediate channel into the art world for aspects of Reception Theory and later, deconstructionist literary theory, such as the kind put forth by French theorist Jacques Derrida.' For deconstructive purposes, it becomes useful to focus on a specific signifier for an in depth analysis; a good place to start is with the most important piece of text attached to this statue, and that is its name, David. By taking this word and the narrative that it implies, at least two distinct binaries can be analyzed. These are the relationship between David and Goliath, with tl1e emphasis being on Goliath and the relationship between perfection and imperfection, which interrogates the culture in which the piece was created. Through the method of deconstruction, the traditional interpretations of Michelangelo's David can be argued as incomplete and often meaningless, largely due to the effects of ethnocentrism.

Publication Date

Spring 5-2012

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.