Italian art experts astonished by David statue uproar in Florida

Written By Davide Ghiglionem, BBC News, Rome

The Florence museum that houses Michelangelo's statue of David has invited teachers and students from a Florida school to visit, after an uproar over an art lesson. The school's principal quit after a complaint about a sixth-grade art class that included an image of the statue. A parent had complained the image was pornographic. Cecilie Hollberg, director of Galleria dell'Accademia, has now issued the invitation to the class. She said the principal should be "rewarded, not punished". "Talking about the Renaissance without showing the David, an undisputed icon of art and culture and of that historical period, would make no sense," Ms Hollberg said.

The controversy began when the board of Tallahassee Classical School - a charter school in Florida's state capital - pressured principal Hope Carrasquilla to resign after three parents complained about a lesson that included a photo of the 17ft nude marble statue. The statue, one of the most famous in Western history, depicts the biblical David going to fight Goliath armed only with a sling and his faith in God.

The board reportedly targeted Ms Carrasquilla because the parents claimed they weren't notified in advance that a nude would be shown, with one parent calling the statue "pornographic".

The incident has left Florentines and experts on Renaissance art bewildered.

......Back in Florence, Ms Hollberg remarked: "From majestic statues to charming fountains and paintings, Italy is overflowing with works of art, not just in its museums, but in all its cities, squares and streets, with some featuring naked figures. "Does that make it pornography? Should entire cities be shut down because of the artistic depictions of the human form?"

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