Cleaning Michelangelo's David is a pretty stressful job. Emanuela Peiretti, working as a team with Paola Rosa, says she hardly slept the night before she first laid hands on the David one year ago. The famous statue at the Accademia Gallery has been regularly vacuumed every two months since 2005, when Friends of Florence began supporting this initiative.
The relationship between Friends of Florence and Michelangelo's statues began in 2003, during the major restoration of the David carried out that year. The no profit foundation financed an in-depth series of tests and an educational DVD at that time. After the restoration was complete, it became clear that a regular, simple cleaning would prolong the effects of the restoration, perhaps indefinitely. Restorers use a vacuum cleaner and soft brushes, taking one day every two months to remove surface dust and particulate matter. In addition, cleaning provides the opportunity to closely monitor the statue and to make note of potential surface issues.
In addition to the David, the foundation also supports the cleaning of Michelangelo's "Prisoners", the Saint Matthew, the Palestrina Pietà and Giambologna's model of the Rape of the Sabines, which are cleaned every four months. Cleaning takes place on Mondays, when the museum is closed to visitors. Friends of Florence has spent some 500 thousand euro overall to date for this project.