Saturday, February 18, 2023

Il Gigante

Michelangelo's David has been a subject of controversy over censorship since it's original unveiling in 1504. From my point of view, rhetoric both past and present contain various forms of supposition, bias, and misconception that only serve to muddy the issue.

Galleria dell'Accademia
Not the
Accademia di Belle Arti

Modern sources typically repeat a claim that a girdle of 28 copper leaves was initially used to give the statue some modesty, but according to Franca Falletti in a guest post on the V&A Museum blog, it is not clear whether the "ghirlanda" of leaves was worn around his waist, or as a laurel crown.

Many of these accounts will also state that the "garland" adorned the statue until the mid-16th century, and I find this interesting, because it was around this time that the Council of Trent (1545–1563) proclaimed that religious imagery should not contain elements that they considered profane.

If the garland was indeed draped around the statue's waist, was it merely Florentine contrariness that lead to its removal during this time, or did the powers that be decide to replace the garland with a singular fig leaf?

In any event, a fig leaf was added at some point, and not removed until 1912 according to unconfirmed Internet hearsay (I've also seen c.1890).

From what I can tell, replica statues at the Piazza della Signoria (installed 1910) and the Piazzale Michelangelo (installed 1873) seem to have been displayed in their natural state.

Piazza della Signoria, 1918

Piazzale Michaelangelo
L'Illustrazione Italiana N. 5
4 febbraio 1877

The statue of David that I have is an accessory from an action figure set by NECA for the film The Goonies.

The statue in the film is a small ceramic replica that suffers an unfortunate accident.

That's my mom's most favorite piece!

Exercising their own bit of censorship, NECA produced the figure in its post-accident, pre-repair state.

The real statue stands 17' tall, which means that it should be 71.9mm in 1/72 scale, but the NECA figure is 67.3mm in height, which is a full scale foot shorter.

The math makes the figure out to be around 1/78 scale, but I think it might be closer to 1/76 scale (or somewhere in between) because I feel there is some discrepancy in the height of the base between the real statue and the miniature.

Anyway, the size is a bit off, but the figure is still a usable scenic feature. I'm up in the air about whether to do some sculpting to restore the figure to its intended form.

Michelangelo's Dave