Florence, Italy: Michelangelo's David

Florence was long an economic powerhouse.

Rather than its church,

it's the city hall

—once the palace of the Medici family—that towers over the main square.

Michelangelo's David originally stood here

—this is a copy.

The original David is the centerpiece of the nearby Accademia Gallery, which feels

like a temple to humanism.

At its altar...

one very impressive human.

The shepherd boy, David, sizes up the giant...

thoughtful and self assured, he seems to be thinking,

"I can take him."

The statue was an apt symbol,

inspiring Florentines to tackle their Goliaths....

When you look at David, you're looking at Renaissance man.

Artists now made their point using realism.

They did this by merging art and science.

For instance,

Michelangelo actually dissected human corpses to better understand anatomy.

This humanism was not anti-religion.

Now, people realized that the best way to glorify God was not to bow down in church

all day long, but to recognize their talents and to use them.

Artists like Michelangelo even exaggerated realism to make

their point:

notice David's large and overdeveloped right hand.

This is symbolic of the hand of God.

It was God that powered David to slay the giant...

and Florentines liked to think God's favor enabled them to rise above rival

neighboring city-states.

The nave-like hall leading to David is lined with Michelangelo's unfinished prisoners

—struggling to break out of the marble.

Michelangelo believed these figures were divinely created within the rock.

. He was simply chiseling away the excess.

Here we see the Renaissance love of the body

as Michelangelo reveals these compelling figures.

While these statues are called unfinished...

perhaps Michelangelo was satisfied he'd set them free...

and he moved on to other challenges.