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Too Risky?

In early May, Donatello's David, a key piece of Florence's Bargello museum‘s collection will be transported to Milan, where it will first be showcased at the Campionaria delle qualità italiane fair in Fieramilano city from May 7 to 10 and later remain in display through

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Thu 07 May 2009 12:00 AM

In early May, Donatello’s David, a key piece of Florence’s Bargello museum‘s collection will be transported to
Milan, where it will first be showcased at the Campionaria delle qualità
italiane fair in Fieramilano city from May 7 to 10 and later remain in display
through May 31. However, Florence daily Corriere fiorentino recently
voiced discontent over what it calls the ‘dangerous’ decision to ship the
bronze north.

 

Critics maintain that such a journey would pose not only pose a physical
risk to the priceless sculpture, but also a cultural risk in that Florence’s
Bargello museum will be without it main ace. They ask: Is it worth
disappointing tourists to Florence, who will see a copy of Donatello’s David and not the original? Is the fair in Milan worth all the effort and
risk? 

 

The
Campionaria delle qualità italiane in Milan is intended to showcase to the
world the rich and varied nature of Italian identity and demonstrate the best
Italy has to offer in terms of economic and creative excellence. Amid some controversy,
Donatello’s recently restored David was chosen by culture minister
Sandro Bondi as the symbol for Italy and to announce the Made in Italy label as
a major competitor in the global economy. But does the bronze truly represent
national identity and economics, asks the author of an article published in the
Corriere fiorentino, art historian Tommaso Montanari. 

 

The true
essence, Montanari maintains, of Donatello’s David can be ascertained
only next to Verrocchio’s David and Donatello’s Judith, both
located in Florence, and other Renaissance masterpieces on display in the city.
It cannot be used to serve the culture ministry’s recent aims to make profit-earning
use of the country’s vast historical and artistic patrimony, argues Montanari,
nor can it be used to fulfill the ministry’s latest cultural mission to bring
Italy’s greatest artworks to the people, instead of bringing people to see the
art.

 

The David was also chosen so that more citizens could admire the masterwork.
Expert restorers from Florence’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure used state-of-the-art
technology to bring the statue  back to
its original splendor, and all Italians should have the chance to see the  improved bronze, says Bondi.

 

But if the decision to ship the David to
Milan was understood as a way to celebrate the masterpiece and its recent
restoration, and also to bring it closer to the Italian public, why, Montanari
asks, must it be placed at the center of a commercially focused fair that
highlights Italian competitiveness, innovation and craftsmanship?

 

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