Michelangelo’s statue of David is considered an iconic piece of art and a near-perfect representation of the human form. Except, it turns out, for one important — and dangerous — body part.
David has weak ankles.
According to an article in the New York Times, the ankles of the 500-year-old marble sculpture are riddled with cracks. When he’s standing upright, everything’s fine, but because of the cracks and the slightly off-centered posture of the statue, if he tilted at just a 15-degree angle the hairline fractures would travel up his legs until they snapped off just below the knee.
A 15-degree angle really isn’t that much. Even though the real statue is in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, where it’s rested ever since it was replaced with a replica in a public square 143 years ago, it’s not that safe.
Earthquakes are fairly common in that area of Italy, but smaller tremors could cause David to fall too, including a nearby high-speed train tunnel that’s under construction, traffic, and even heavy foot traffic.
Experts have created multiple exact replicas of the iconic work of art to study it, so they’re pretty confident about the danger. While there are some plans in the work to better ensure David’s safety — including a special antiseismic base whose creation is being held up by bureaucracy, the statue is still at risk should anything happen to tilt it.
Shoulda done more ankle exercises, my man.
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