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Visit Italy: Florence's David Gets a New Look
Recently, Italians gave a bath to Michelangelo's masterpiece David. The decision to restore David in time for his 500th birthday was a controversial one. Art critics said the cleaning was unnecessary because the statue has been indoors at the Galleria dell' Accademia for more than 130 years. They argued that other works of art already had been damaged after much-too-harsh cleanings, and that risking one of the world's greatest works was downright wrong. After all, David is one of the most famous, studied and significant masterpieces ever. He is a symbol of Florence, all of Italy and masculinity.
Italian authorities like the superintendent of art in Florence Antonio Paolucci, however, ignored the advice, according to the Los Angeles Times. Presumably, a bright and shiny David would attract more visitors and garner press attention. (David certainly has turned up on the pages of many a newspaper and magazine thanks to the restoration.) Since Paolucci and company have the final word, David did get that sponge down.
The next step was deciding just how to do it – thorough dusting, chemical treatments or something else. In the end, the authorities compromised and went for a less abrasive cleaning method. Distilled water was applied in compresses, and solvent was used in a few places, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The result? Well, more than two million people already visit David annually. But he still might get a few more visitors who want to wish him a happy 500th and see his new look. Anne Hart, a writer for the Savannah Morning News recently wrote about how the revived David made her nostalgic for her study abroad program in Italy – a course she took about 15 years ago. She reminded us all that there is always a fresh new crop of ladies who want a glimpse at the ideal man, and a whole bunch of men who need something to which they can aspire. What are you waiting for?
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