In the USA – and not only there – a debate has flared up about one of the most famous statues in the world: Michelangelo’s naked David. In Florida, a school headmaster was recently fired for showing the world-famous marble statue in art class. The accusation: spreading pornography. Among others, the mayor of Florence, the city considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, finds this absurd.
Naked David outrages parents
Tallahassee Classical School is a Christian school in the US state of Florida. A few weeks ago, the headmaster there, Hope Carrasquilla, was kicked out of the school because she showed the children of a sixth grade class Michelangelo’s statue of David in art class. The case made waves because the headmaster, who was also an art teacher at the school, had not informed the parents in advance.
Apparently, some parents were so outraged by this that they turned to the school authorities and demanded the dismissal of the headmistress. The school authorities apparently followed the parents’ reasoning. After the teacher let a deadline for “voluntary resignation” pass, Hope Carrasquilla was led off the school grounds under police guard.
Florence mayor: “Simply ridiculous”.
In Florence, where Michelangelo’s David can be admired in the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Florida case also made waves. Mayor Nardella was furious at the accusation of pornography. In a tweet on Twitter, he called it “simply ridiculous” to equate art with pornography. He later followed up by inviting students from Florida to come to Florence, where the Renaissance masterpiece would be explained to them on the spot. Nardella stressed that he would present the dismissed headmistress with an award.
Statue of David: Symbol of the Renaissance
Michelangelo’s statue of David is considered the symbol of the Renaissance par excellence. It shows man in his physical perfection, as he was created by God. In addition, there is a religious reference. Michelangelo worked the statue from a block of white marble that came from the quarries of Carrara in Tuscany. Recently, a document has surfaced that proves the master ordered the block of marble.
The director of the Galleria dell’Accademia museum also expressed her indignation. In an interview, she spoke of a “distorted imagination” that people must have when they make a reference to pornography in the statue of David.
Nudity in art
Nudity has played an important role in art since antiquity. The Greeks often showed their male deities naked. The sculptor Praxiteles created a statue showing the Greek goddess of love – Aphrodite – completely naked in front of a bath. In 1538 Titian painted his “Venus of Orbino” naked in a seductive pose. The impressionist painter Manet also presented his “Olympia” lying on a divan, completely naked.
Back to Michelangelo. The famous ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, a work by Michelangelo, not only shows the creation of Adam by the pointing of God’s finger, but also 24 naked men. If no one takes offence at unclothed bodies in the holiest place in all of Christendom, the Vatican, why should the world’s most famous marble statue have any reference to pornography?