Wednesday, September 8, 2010

David

I remember the statue well. It is so beautiful, and pictures really do not do it full justice. As we walked across the polished floors to gather under the domed roof of the Accademia Gallery in Florence, I was flabbergasted by the detail. Each muscle, the curls in the hair. Michelangelo's David stands out from the blur of great art I have seen, and I remember two rather amusing stories about it.

The first has to do with the day of its unveiling, 506 years ago today. The story goes that the city fathers had gathered around, and were determined to find something wrong with it. After all, they were not like the masses, easily cowed by the fame of the artist; they were going to give him his comeuppance.

They oohed and aahed a bit, then began looking critically, discussed it among themselves, and told the great artist that the statues' nose was too big.

Michelangelo did not say a word. He bent and picked up a couple of tools, and palmed some marble dust and a few small chunks of marble. He slowly and seemingly reluctantly climbed the ladder, and gave a couple of glancing blows that did no damage, allowing the dust and small bits of marble he had swept up with the tools to sprinkle down. Then he climbed back down and waited.

The city fathers agreed, now it was perfect.

Artist 1, City Fathers 0

The second funny story is personal. I was so taken with the statue that I bought a postcard of it, and used it as a bookmark for quite a while.

One day, in a high school class, the teacher mentioned the statue and said she wished she had a picture to show. This quiet, not at all popular girl with braces and a reputation for being a goody two shoes pulled a picture postcard of the statue out of her current book and held it up. The teacher looked surprised but thanked me and passed it around, to the shock of everyone else in the class.


You would be amazed at the amount of respect you can get in an all girls Catholic high school by carrying around a picture post card of a naked male statue.


Today is:

Feast of 'Izzat -- Baha'i

Feast of Our Lady of Meritxell -- Andorra

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin -- Catholic Christian

Feast of Papa-Lea (god of Kava Drinking)

Fiestas de Santa Fe -- New Mexico (includes burning of the Zozobra - Old Man Gloom effigy)

Independence Day -- Macedonia

International Literacy Day

National Date Nut Bread Day

National Day -- Andorra

National Pardon Day

Sheriff's Ride Ceremony, Lichfield, UK

St. Adrian's Day (patron of arms dealers, butchers, prison guards)

Victory Day/Feast of Our Lady of Victories -- Malta

World Physical Therapy Day


Birthdays Today:

Frankie Avalon, 1940
Guitar Sorty, 1939
Patsy Cline, 1932
Peter Sellers, 1925
Sid Caesar, 1922
Claude Pepper, 1900
Antonin Leopold Dvorak, 1841
Richard I (Lionheart), 1157


Today in History:

The Statute of Kalisz, guaranteeing Jews safety and personal liberties and giving battei din jurisdiction over Jewish matters, is promulgated by Boleslaus the Pious, Duke of Greater Poland, 1264
Michaelangelo's David is unveiled in Florence, 1504
St. Augustine, FL, becomes the first permanent European settlement of the New World, 1565
The US "Pledge of Allegiance" makes its first appearance in print, in the Youth's Companion, 1892
Galveston, TX, is struck by a hurricane and tidal surge that kill 6,000, 1900
First appearance of the comic strip "Blondie", 1930
3M begins marketing Scotch transparent tape, 1930
The Beatles perform their new hit "Hey Jude" as their last live TV performance on the David Frost show, 1968
Chinese athlete Wang Junxia sets a new women's 10,000 m world record of 29:31.78, breaking the former record by 42 seconds, 1993
Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base; the first time Russia has flown such a mission to North America, 2005

2 comments:

  1. I used the picture of David once in a promotional poster for a company's internal-only Craft/Art fair. The poster had David and a tastefully positioned banner.
    The Powers-that-be refused to use the poster. Their reason? David "didn't meet the company dress policy." I kid thee not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, we all know that great art must be well dressed. Like the pope who ordered fig leaves glued over all the statues.

    ReplyDelete