Fragile David

May 20, 2009 / Art & Archaeology
fragiledavide1Ever since going up against Goliath, the last thing you would have thought anyone would say was that David was weak kneed. But what with the recent Abruzzo earthquake still in mind and a few inches-thick worth of experts’ studies in hand, frail is exactly what parliamentarian Angelo Alessandri called Michelangelo’s version of our plucky hero.

In what is most certainly a politically motivated response (no one in their right mind says something so assinine), the Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence which hosts the famous statue said, “Even Giotto’s bell tower is in danger for that matter. Why worry only about the David?” No comment.

The weak spots apparently are David’s knees and ankles, already structurally damaged when the statue was struck by lightning before it was moved indoors from its original location in Piazza della Signoria. A slight tremor, the research warns, could easily snap the statue at the base and send our old chap head over knees. Osteoporosis indeed.

Despite the bickering, it is our hope that those responsible for either statue or bell tower or any other valuable monument make them safe against earthquakes for posterity’s sake, and that petty infighting stays out of the way.

Remember David’s lesson, “Thus were the mighty laid low…” Sad irony indeed were it ever to be said of this incredible work of art.


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

9 Responses to “Fragile David”

  1. GB I am a friend of Pat Ceccarelli

    I think the above was the best yet article you have published and written

    my compliments


  2. William Strangio

    David has suffered damage previously having his arm
    broken off (and in several pieces) due to a riot.
    Vassari saved the pieces the statue was repaird.
    Hopefully it will not be so protected that it is
    not abvailable to view. Nothing lasts forever!

    With the new technology available it would be oossible
    to duplicate the statue exactly. Hopefully a digital
    scan will be recorded of all the significant 3 D objects
    so that they could be reproduced if they were ever

    Keep up the good work!

  3. hebegb

    Bravo Bill! Right you are, good old David has had his share of hard knocks over the years. Note on this coming soon!

  4. Antonina

    I adore the story of David having been struck by Lightening before it was brought in, had no idea .

  5. Allyson

    Well, the David has been replicated. I think what is important to remember is that, like William said, it has been broken and put back together before. This statue is no Humpty Dumpty! and, with today’s technologies, they should be able to figure out a way to try and safeguard it as much as possible where it stands, but also be able to put it back together should it break again!

  6. According to a popular song, he also had his balls washed by the Arno river, during the flood of 1966.

  7. linda powers

    Seeing the David in person will make your heart skip a beat! Take a seat and drink in the beauty of this magnificent work of art as my daughter and I did for a full 45 minutes. Our guide kept us enraptured with the history of this Florentine “Giant” – the embodiment of youthful strength and self confidence. I think its very special that the city of Florence feels such an affinity with this biblical figure who defeated a much tougher foe with his skill and courage, much like the city itself in times of conflict with its neighbors.


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