Saturday 19 Jan, 2008

‘David’ might move

Has David outgrown Florence? The city of Florence thinks so.

Authorities in the Renaissance City are considering a plan to move Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece from the city center to the outskirts of Florence, according to the Associated Press.

About 11 million tourists flock to Florence each year, and 1.3 million people visit the Accademia Gallery, where the 500-year-old David has resided since 1873. But overcrowding around the museum—including tourists sticking chewing gum on the building (if you can believe it)—has caused enough problems to prompt proposals from city officials.

One proposal, from a top regional cultural official, suggests moving the statue to a yet-unfinished music complex in the western part of the city. The complex is under construction and not expected to be finished until 2010 or 2011, and Mayor Leonardo Domenici said that the move would not happen “in the near future.” There are also plans in Florence for three tram lines to help ease congestion into the city center.

The Independent has more details about the uproar in the art world over the proposal to move David.

As the Associated Press points out, moving the 14-foot David would be a huge,
risky undertaking. In 1504, it took four days to move the completed sculpture from
Michelangelo’s studio outside to the Piazza della Signoria. The statue was then moved inside in 1873 for its protection. A famous replica now stands in its original place in the piazza.

The original David underwent its first exhaustive (and controversial) restorative cleaning since 1843 in time for its 500th anniversary in 2004. The Guardian Unlimited has a little quiz to see if you can spot the before-and-after differences.

What’s your take on the proposed move? If David moved, would you go out of your way to see it? Would you want to see a new replica stands in its current place in the Accademia?