Tuesday, February 5, 2008

David on the Move?

Say what? Apparently some culture officials in Florence are considering moving Michelangelo's David from the Accademia, where he has lived since 1873, to a cultural park planned for construction outside the city center. The move, if it took place, would not happen for a few years. The reason? Complaints about congestion in the city center, where gaggles of tourists traipse from the Uffizi to the Accademia and stand in long lines for a glimpse of Florence's artistic treasures.

I can see the concerns about tourist traffic--those narrow streets definitely clog up--but the idea of moving David to some site outside the centro storico is anathema from a symbolic point of view. Michelangelo would be horrified! The statue was created as a civic emblem and stood for centuries outside the Palazzo Signoria as an expression of Florentine pride. He does not belong in some suburban "cultural park" that requires a schlep. And what about context? Part of the experience of David is seeing him in concert with sculptures by Michelangelo and others of the time and being able to make comparisons.

I hope this idea quietly goes away.

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