Reopened Italian museum to make statue of David share the spotlight

1 min read
Michelangelo's statue of David is among the works once again on display in the newly reopened Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence. Photo: Guido Cozzi/Galleria dell'Accademia/dpa

After years of planning, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, the museum that is home to Michelangelo’s statue of David, has concluded the lengthy renovations of its plaster collection and is attempting to divert some of the spotlight from the iconic sculpture.

Museum director Cecilie Hollberg and Italy’s outgoing Culture Minister Dario Franceschini are scheduled to reopen the collection containing more than 400 plaster sculptures on Monday.

The restructuring of the famous exhibit while the rest of the museum was still open to visitors had been a “Herculean task,” Hollberg told dpa ahead of the reopening.

The so-called Gipsoteca contains the plaster models of Italian sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini. “Along with Antonio Canova, he was the leading sculptor of 19th century Italy,” said Hollberg.

The plaster busts served as models for Bartolini’s works carved in stone, which you might have seen in the Louvre in Paris or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Hollberg, who has been in charge of the popular museum since December 2015, also used the renovation to shift its focus.

While previously much of the museum revolved around the world-famous David statue by Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo, now each work has its own illumination allowing visitors to better appreciate them, Hollberg said.

statue of david
The “Abduction of the Sabine Women” by Giovanni da Bologna is among the works once again on display in the newly reopened Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. Photo: Guido Cozzi/Galleria dell’Accademia/dpa

“It’s not a good idea to overemphasize one element and have the rest disappear as a result,” she added.

While the nude David is sure to remain the catalyst behind the large crowds drawn by the museum, people are excited about what else there is to see, according to the director.

Despite its popularity, with thousands of daily visitors daily, the public museum is run by a very small team. “We’re short 60% in terms of personnel needed,” said Hollberg, adding that this is due to the fact that the government is in charge of filling posts and notoriously slow in sending new people. ©dpa

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