David is back from America

“Some cultural news for a change,” a priest in America e-mailed me. After a two-year tour of the United States, he told me, Michelangelo’s David was returning to Italy.

The news surprised me, I must confess. I didn’t know David had left Florence. I’ve never seen the statue, but I know it’s a remarkable work of art. Popular representations of David at the time had him holding Goliath’s head in triumph. Michelangelo instead elected to depict him immediately before the battle.

A close up of David’s face shows the masterfully sculpted tension:

This expression is harder to see when viewed from below.
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This expression is harder to see when viewed from below.

His hands and head are out of proportion to his body, but this is probably deliberate on Michelangelo’s part. The statue was originally intended to sit on Florence’s cathedral roofline, so with that in mind, Michelangelo may have accentuated these features.

The marble Michelangelo used to sculpt David is poor quality. The statue’s conservation is a real concern. That’s why I was surprised to learn that the statue was allowed to tour the United States for two years.

I guess money talks though. The tour was sponsored by three global corporates, who were prepared to pay immense insurance costs.

Kudos to these three for fostering cultural appreciation!
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Kudos to these three corporate citizens for fostering greater cultural appreciation!

Anyway, David is back in Florence, and the Italians are happy to have him home. After a two years absence, things are back to normal!

Sort of.

Before and after. Two years can really change a man!
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Before and after. Two years can really change a man!

H/T Fr Paul. And Richard!

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