Thursday, November 19, 2009


With our obsession for public sculpture in full flight, we were in early to see 2012. It has been promoted nearby with a giant billboard showing Rio’s Christ the Redeemer’s 600-plus tons toppling to the shaking, quaking ground. This end-of-the-world-is-nigh pic features a number of art works in peril as elite survivors scour the earth to save the crème de la crème of cultural artefacts from a wetting. The Mona Lisa is packed up into a super-cool metal crate and later in the movie Michelangelo’s David can be spotted in a travelling crate moving along a conveyor belt to its safe haven.

It brings to mind the last occasion the David was in peril. In preparation for the German occupation of Florence in the Second World War there was the option of spiriting him away from the city. In France the 3.2 metre Winged Victory of Samothrace had been carefully inched down the huge staircase it dominates at the Louvre, crated and moved into hiding but it was decided that moving the 5.7 meter David was more of a risk than leaving it in place. Being a big boy, he had to stay and face the music. To protect him from bombs and flying debris a brick tomb was constructed around him and other sculptures. He saw the war out undamaged.
Images: Left, not good in Rio. Right, preparing David for protection and the finished ‘tombs’, the David’s is at the rear. (Images of the David are from the TV series The Rape of Europa).