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Florence mayor defends US teacher forced to quit in row over David statue

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The Local/AFP ([email protected])
Florence mayor defends US teacher forced to quit in row over David statue
The Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence is home to the original 16th century statue of David by Michelangelo. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

A Florence museum and the city’s mayor invited pupils and parents at a Florida school to the city to view Michelangelo’s ‘David’ after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the principal to resign.

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The mayor of the Italian city of Florence on Saturday defended a Florida school principal who resigned after a parent complained students were exposed to “pornography” during an art lesson that featured Michelangelo’s David sculpture. 

“A Florida teacher was forced to quit for showing students photos of Michelangelo’s David. Mistaking art for pornography is just ridiculous,” said Florence mayor Dario Nardella in a tweet.

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“I will personally invite the teacher to Florence to give her recognition on behalf of the city,” Nardella added.

“Art is civilization and whoever teaches it deserves respect.”

The famed 16th century marble statue, which depicts the biblical figure David in the nude, is housed in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia art museum. 

Tallahassee Classical School principal Hope Carrasquilla resigned after the school board reportedly told her to step down or be fired over the incident.

One parent reportedly complained that the material shown to the sixth-grade art class was pornographic, and two others said they should have been warned about the lesson beforehand.

The school reportedly has a policy requiring parents to be notified in advance about any “controversial” topics being taught.

In Italy the Renaissance and its masterpieces, including nude sculptures, are generally seen as uncontroversial.

Leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera's front page on Sunday featured a satirical cartoon depicting David with his genitals covered by an image of Uncle Sam and the word “Shame.”

Galleria dell’Accademia director Cecilie Hollberg told AFP the controversy was "absolutely astonishing".

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"We are talking about the icon of the Renaissance, Michelangelo's David, which has been recognised across the world for generations," Hollberg said in a telephone interview.

She said the statue was hailed for its beauty and "purity", adding: "One must have a twisted mind to combine nudity with what was suggested, because obviously there is a big difference between nudity and pornography."

The director decried "a huge ignorance" about history and the history of art which, "more than anything, is quite sad."

She warned that "we are really losing our connection with our culture and history... to think that once in Greece, at the Olympic Games, everyone was naked!"

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Marshall and Nadine 2023/03/27 22:16
As U.S. expats living abroad, this right wing, conservative, fundamental approach to everything is part of the reason that we will never return. These parents would be happy if their children never learned anything about any other part of the world, or culture, our way of life. Sadly it seems to be getting worse.

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