Florida principal ousted over Michelangelo's David 'porn' row visits statue

·2-min read
Florida principal ousted over Michelangelo's David 'porn' row visits statue

A former principal of a Florida school, who was forced to resign after parents complained her lesson containing images of Michelangelo’s iconic David statue was “pornographic”, has been welcomed in the Italian city of Florence to see the masterpiece in person.

Hope Carrasquilla stepped down as head of Tallahassee Classical School last month after one parent claimed the sculpture was pornographic and others complained they weren't told their children would be shown the nude figure during a lesson on the Renaissance.

After her resignation, Florence Mayor Dario Nardella and Galleria dell’Accademia director Cecilie Hollberg invited Carrasquilla to see the artwork in person. On Friday, 28 April, she arrived in the city to view the statue with her husband and two children.

Copyright Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze via The AP
Hope Carrasquilla, right, posing with Cecilie Hollberg in front of David - Copyright Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze via The AP

“The thing that impressed me the most and that I didn't know, is that this whole gallery was built for him. I think it's beautiful, it looks like a church," the former principal said.

"And to me, that just represents really the purity of this figure and you see his humanness. And that's what I've always loved about it. There is nothing wrong with the human body in and of itself".

Hollberg expressed her joy at the visit.

“I am delighted to welcome her and show her the magnificence of our museum, as well as personally introduce her to David, a sculpture that I reiterate has nothing to do with pornography," she said.

"It is a masterpiece representing a religious symbol of purity and innocence, the triumph of good over evil. His nudity is an outward manifestation of Renaissance thought, which considered man the centre of the universe.”

Copyright 2023 The AP
Tourists take photos in front of David; over a million people visit the sculpture every year - Copyright 2023 The AP

Despite some Floridians’ objections to the sculpture, which was created between 1501 and 1504 by Italian artist Michelangelo, more than 50 per cent of the more than one million annual visitors who come to see the vast artwork are, in actual fact, Americans.

The 5.17-metre tall marble sculpture depicts the Biblical version of David, naked, with a sling over his shoulder and a rock in his hand, before his legendary battle with Goliath.

While the visit to Florence was no doubt a happy ending for Carrasquilla following her ousting, it’s helped to add more fuel to the fire of the United States culture wars, currently raging around the country’s education sector.

Florida has seen its schools particularly affected, with the governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis campaigning to make education “anti-woke”. After the scandal surrounding Carrasquilla stepping down, the Florida Department of Education issued a statement saying they recognised the statue of David "has artistic and historical value".