Magazine April 25, 2016, Issue

Art and the Free Man

Guernica, by Pablo Picasso (
David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art, by Victoria C. Gardner Coates (Encounter, 368 pp., $27.99

For art historian Victoria Coates, David’s sling, in Michelangelo’s colossal statue of the Old Testament David in Florence, is not just a representation of the weapon with which the diminutive future king of Israel put down the huge brute Goliath: It is also an icon for a small, but free and wily, Renaissance Florence that held its own in the rough neighborhood of 15th- and 16th-century Italy and the Mediterranean beyond. Had Michelangelo been conscripted to work for the Ottoman sultan, I suppose he might have been hired instead to glorify the aggressor Goliath.

In other words, Coates advances a familiar

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


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Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Lindsey Graham has proven he’s willing to do just about anything to stop serving in the Senate alongside Ted Cruz. ‐ Could Paul Ryan emerge from the Republican convention with ...
The Long View

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Politics & Policy


WHO IS THE STRANGER WHO OVERTAKES ME Who is the stranger who overtakes me On a dark street and taps me on the shoulder? I turn and there is nobody there but me, And ...


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