Is Michelangelo's David porn? Come see it, Italians say to Florida parents

2023-03-27 21:01:39Kosova&Bota SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Is Michelangelo's David porn? Come see it, Italians say to Florida parents

By Nicole Winfield and Terry Spencer - Associated Press

ROME (AP) - The Florence museum that houses Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpiece David invited parents and students from a Florida school to visit the museum Sunday after complaints that a lecture about the statue prompted the school's principal to the resignation.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella also posted an invitation for the director to visit the sculpture so he could personally honor it. Confusing art with pornography is "ridiculous," said Mayor Nardella.

The Tallahassee Classical School board pressured Principal Hope Carrasquilla to resign last week after an image of David appeared in an art lesson with sixth-graders. The school has a policy that requires parents to be notified in advance of "controversial" topics being taught at school.

The Italian response points to how cultural struggles in the US are often perceived in Europe, where despite an increase in right-wing sentiment and government, the Renaissance period and its masterpieces, even the bare ones, are generally free of controversy. Sunday's front page of the daily Corriere della Sera featured a cartoon by its chief satirist depicting David with his genitalia covered by an image of Uncle Sam, personifying the US government, with the word "Shame".

Ms. Carrasquilla believes the board targeted her after three parents complained about a lesson that included a picture of the David, a 5-foot-tall nude marble sculpture dating from 1504. The work, considered one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance , features the biblical David, who goes to fight Goliath, armed only with his faith in God.

Ms. Carrasquilla said that two parents complained because they had not been informed in advance that a nude sculpture would be displayed in the lesson, while a third called the famous statue a "pornographic work".

Ms. Carrasquilla said in a telephone interview Sunday that she is "very honored" by the invitations to Italy and she may agree to go.

"I've been to Florence before and seen David up close and personal, but I'd love to go and be the mayor's guest."

Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Galleria dell'Accademia, where David's sculpture is located, expressed surprise at the controversy.

"To think that David could be pornographic is to really not understand the content of the Bible, not to understand Western culture, and not to understand Renaissance art."

She invited the principal, school board, parents and students to see the "purity" of the statue.

Tallahassee Classical is a taxpayer-funded school that operates almost entirely independently of the local school district. It is preferred by parents looking for an alternative to the public school curriculum.

About 400 students from preschool through 12th grade attend the three-year institution. The school follows a curriculum designed by Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian school in Michigan often consulted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on educational matters.

Barney Bishop, chairman of the Tallahassee Classical school board, told reporters that while the photo of the statue played a role in the removal of Principal Carrasquilla, it was not the only factor. He refused to give details and defended the decision.

Some parents and teachers plan to protest Ms. Carrasquilla's departure at Monday night's school board meeting, but Carrasquilla said she is not sure she would accept reinstatement even if offered.

Michelangelo Buonarroti carved the statue of David between 1501-1504 commissioned by Florence Cathedral. The statue attracts about 1.7 million visitors to the museum each year.

"It is highly demanded by Americans who want to take selfies and enjoy the beauty of this statue," said museum director Hollberg.

The museum, like many in Europe, is free for student groups.