After a Florida teacher lost her job over porn allegations she showed Florence’s David statue in class, she has now received backing from the world-famous sculpture’s hometown.
Art or pornography, this is the question that is currently the subject of a debate in the USA. The focus is on Michelangelo’s world-famous David statue and the director of the Tallahassee Classical School in the state of Florida. Hope Carrasquilla was pressured into resigning by the school’s board last week after showing a picture of David to a sixth grader in art class, US media reports. The school has a policy that parents must be informed in advance if “controversial” subjects are to be discussed in class.
Florence Mayor Calls Porn Allegation “Ridiculous”
The reports have now also caused a stir in Florence, where the five-metre-high Renaissance-era marble sculpture stands in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Even the mayor of the central Italian city spoke up via Twitter. “Confusing art with pornography is just ridiculous,” Dario Nardella tweeted. He will personally invite the teacher to Florence “to present her with an award on behalf of the city. Art is civilization and those who teach it deserve respect.”
The director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, Cecilie Hollberg, was outraged and amazed at what happened in Tallahassee. “It’s absurd. Nudity is not the same as pornography,” she quotes the Italian daily La Repubblica as saying. The David statue is the symbol of the Renaissance that puts man in all his immaculateness, as created by God, at the center. David is also a religious figure. “To make an association with pornography, you have to have a distorted imagination.”
And the US news site “Huffington Post” said Hollberg: “To believe that David could be pornographic is to not understand the content of the Bible, Western culture and Renaissance art.” The museum director invited Carrasquilla, the school board, parents and student body to inspect the “purity” of the statue.
The Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence is one of the most visited museums in Italy, mainly because of the well-known David sculpture. The marble statue was created between 1501 and 1504. In the 16th century it first adorned the entrance of the Florentine Palazzo Vecchio, since 1873 it has been kept in the museum. Michelangelo’s artwork shows the biblical David at the moment when, armed only with faith in God and a slingshot, he is about to take on the giant Goliath.
Florida school principal ‘totally overwhelmed’
Carrasquilla feels “very honored” by the invitations to Florence and may want to accept them. “I’m absolutely blown away,” she told the Huffington Post. “I’ve been to Florence before and seen the ‘David’ up close and personal, but I’d love to travel there and be a guest of the mayor.”
The teacher believes the board targeted her after three parents complained about a lesson involving the statue of David. Two complained that they were not informed in advance that a nude would be shown and one called the iconic statue pornographic.
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In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is currently driving a culture war against everything that the arch-conservative Republican sees as a woke. DeSantis, for example, pushed through last year that classes on sexual orientation and gender identity are no longer allowed in elementary schools, a ban that he wants to extend to all age groups. The governor is considered a possible candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
Marla Stone, head of the humanities department at the American Academy in Rome, told the Huffington Post that the Florida incident is another episode in the escalating culture wars in the United States. “We are dealing with a moral crusade against the body, sexuality and gender expression and an ignorance of history,” Stone wrote in an email. “The incident is about fear, fear of beauty, of difference and of the possibilities of art.”
Sources: , DPA
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.