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David in Helsingborg and Zurich. David with Goliath's head, Ivar Viktor Johnsson, Utoquai, Zurich, Switzerland

Put 'David' and 'Sculpture' together in a sentence and many Westerners immediately conjure up in their mind's eye Michelangelo's famous statue in Florence (1504). But there are many other 'Davids' as well, of course. The Old-Testament story of the young shepherd ptting himself against the giant Goliath with only a slingshot is a mighty tale indeed.

Michelangelo's famed David with his slingshot over his left shoulder is surely more than a mere stripling. Ivar Viktor Johnsson (1885-1970) chose a rather different perspective; just look at the huge sword in David's right hand.

Johnsson stood at the very forefront of neo-classicism in Sweden. Helped by the castings of the Näfveqvarn foundry, his sculptures became well-known throughout Europe. He made this 'David och Goliat' in 1921. and it was placed in the central town square of Helsingborg in 1923. Not to the amusement of the populace and even the cultural elite, this Strapping Lad: "Too, far too Nude; and just look, too, at that violence, the mighty sword and severed head! And the self-assurance of that David, prideful with his foot on that gory head. So Naked, too! No, not here in our ancient, hallowed square for everyone to see. Sets a bad example!"

So this marvelous example of Swedish and European neo-classicism was removed to the obscurity of a park (1923). The statue was finally replaced in Stortorget in 2009.

But more or less at the same time as its banishment from the centre of Helsingborg, a copy was cast to the commssion of Zurich, Switzerland. It was erected at Utoquai in 1925 and graces the Linden-lined banks of Lake Zurich. Here in this photo it stands in its full glory on a gloriously Sunny day.

PS The 'ladder' in back is, of course, the one that David used to climb up Giant Goliath to cut off his head...

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Taken on August 27, 2012