Anorak News | In A Spin

In A Spin

by | 16th, July 2003

‘WHEN Michelangelo crafted his 14ft high masterpiece, the statue of David, almost exactly 500 years ago, he omitted one very vital thing.

Another cold day in Florence

No, not a bigger willy, although it is true that David could use an extra few inches in that department.

He forgot to add a label with washing instructions for the statue – and has consequently provoked a heated argument over whether the marble is dry clean only.

The statue, which hasn’t been cleaned since 1843, is now caked in grime and there are still traces of protective wax left over from his last bath (in hydrochloric acid).

And the Italian government wants it spruced up ready for its 500th birthday next year – but how?

The Guardian explains that Franca Falletti, director of Florence’s Gallria dell’Accademia, believes that wet poultices are needed to suck the grime from the statue’s pores.

But restorer Agnese Parronchi is convinced that the dirt should only be brushed away using hair brushes – and has resigned in protest at Ms Falletti’s intended methods.

However, the Independent says that, ‘despite an anguished petition in support of Ms Parronchi from scholars all over the world’, another restorer has been appointed to carry out what is likely to be the world’s most expensive sponge bath.

Ms Parronchi told the paper that the salt that had formed over the years was part of the masterpiece itself, and argued that washing would make the surface too uniform, hiding the natural colours and veins of the marble.

It should also be pointed out that washing something that is marked ‘Dry clean only’ can lead to shrinkage – and that is something that David really cannot afford.

Posted: 16th, July 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink