Keeping David out of harm's way
Michelangelo’s David had centuries of gunk picked out of every nook and cranny of his perfect marble body last year in honour of his 500th birthday.
But it seems the statue will be dirty again soon if it is not protected from the millions of visitors who traipse past it every year.
So, experts are considering blasting air from behind the 5m-high statue at the crowds of admirers as they advance from the street entrance down the main aisle of Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, bringing dust and humidity with them.
Franca Falletti, the museum director, says the Florentine streets are ever more polluted, and dust carries potentially harmful chemicals.
Experts will be investigating the problem over the next two years and considering alternatives such as asking visitors to brush themselves down. But this would not solve the question of how to stop their breath and sweat filling the air around the statue.
Another option would be to dust the statue itself every six months or so. But every time restorers lay their hands on it, they are accused of tampering.
The experts do not seem to be considering limiting visitor numbers.
The 16-million last year paid €40-million (about R304-million) in entrance fees.—Guardian Unlimited Â