Artist Recreates Michelangelo’s ’David’ as an Origami Sculpture From a Single Sheet of Paper

Origami David Sculpture

“DAVID,” based on Boice Wong's “Looking Beyond”, folded by @mayuncchigami, wenzhou, 55x55cm

Widely regarded as the most famous statue in the world, almost everyone can recognize Michelangelo's David. While we are accustomed to seeing it in its marble form, some artists have reimagined its likeness into new and varied mediums. Artist @mayuncchigami has recreated this masterpiece as a highly detailed origami using only one square sheet of paper.

The intricate piece features many of the same features of the original artwork, including realistic anatomy and the contrapposto stance. The artist began the project with a crease pattern created by Boice Wong, which provides a basic structure for the model. However, instead of following it to a T, @mayuncchigami incorporated his own vision, wanting to amplify the realism, particularly the musculature of David. “My goal was to both recreate Michelangelo's statue as closely as I could with origami, but also try something that is very much unlike anything you would typically encounter in origami,” he tells My Modern Met.

Prior to commencing the project, @mayuncchigami prepared a 55 x 55 cm (21.7-square-inch) wenzhou paper (a type of material made out of mulberry bark) by treating it with methylcellulose, which makes the paper stiffer and more resistant to tearing. Afterward, he followed the pattern to create the basic structure. “Here is when I started to experiment with shaping the various skeletal muscles,” he explains. “I roughly sketched out my shaping, first by tracing the lines and shapes into the paper with my fingers and tweezers to get a feeling of the overall form and position of the various details until I am satisfied.” Manipulating the paper in this way also led to an organic, crinkling texture that helped amplify the anatomical features.

@mayuncchigami also added white glue between the layers of paper to prevent it from splaying and to allow the shapes to set in more permanently. The most difficult element, he said, was the head, as it required much more precision to render the face correctly. “David is the current culmination of that style where I try to sculpt a very realistic looking humanoid origami that radiates poetic drama,” he adds.

Scroll down to see more photos of this incredible paper sculpture, and follow @mayuncchigami on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest work.

Artist @mayuncchigami recreated Michelangelo's David entirely with paper.

Origami David Sculpture

The pattern is based on Boice Wong's Looking Beyond, a blueprint of the basic structure of David.

Origami David Sculpture

@mayuncchigami used this crease pattern as the foundation for his more sculptural approach.

Origami David Sculpture

He mimics the realism of the Renaissance sculpture by folding and creasing the wenzhou paper.

Origami David Sculpture

The final piece measures just 10 x 10 cm (about 3.9 x 3.9 inches).

Origami David SculptureOrigami David SculptureOrigami David SculptureOrigami David SculptureOrigami David Sculpture@mayuncchigami: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by @mayuncchigami.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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