Friday, September 26, 2014

Michelangelo's David

Here in St. Augustine, Florida there are many tourist attractions. Living here for six years I have come to take some of them for granted and ignore others. Taking advantage of the slow tourist season in September I visited Ripley's Believe It or Not. I will pass on the contents inside the attraction and focus on what really surprised me. Just before walking away I noticed something behind some tall hedges right out front. Hidden around a corner I found the sculpture "David" originally by Michelangelo. Actually this is an exact facsimile of the same size and from the same Italian marble quarry.

At the base I found it is titled "Magnificence in Marble: the Sollazzini and Sons' David". It's 17 feet high! Apparently it was made in 1963 for the New York World's Fair and purchased by Ripley in 2007. What an impressive object to have here in St. Augustine! I probably saw it at the World's Fair when I was a kid. I was curious about the way it is screened from the street. I assume that is to hide the nudity and genitals from those that might take offense.

The anatomical feature that struck me was the right hand, so enormously out of scale with the figure. Standing before the figure you actually look up above your head at the hand of David holding the stone. All these issues are very old and have been analyzed for centuries.

I saw the original in Florence in 1976 and recall that experience clearly. I probably saw this one in NY and can't recall. But I am pleased to have found it here and can now add it to my list of things to show visiting friends. I can't yet get over the fact that no one ever mentioned it to me before.

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