Michelangelo's David collapsing under his weak ankles

Posted May 2, 2014 by Nora Meszaros
Michelangelo’s statue of David is risking a fatal collapse under its own, reportedly because of micro-fractures along the sculpture’s “weak ankles.”
The sculpture, standing over 5 m in height and weighing in at about 5.5 tonnes, has been showing signs of fractures in its legs, along with cracks along the tree stump behind David which bears most of the sculpture’s weight, BBC reports.
The statue, which has been on display for 500 years, spent three centuries in the city’s main square, “leaning at a dangerous angle,” according to the National Post. Part of the sculpture’s fragility results in the poor-quality marble that Michelangelo used, along with the chosen off-centre pose, BBC reports.
Restorations were last made to Michelangelo’s David in Italy in 2004, during the controversial “clean-up” which removed years of grime from the marble sculpture’s surface, according to New Scientist. The clean-up project began in 2002 and wrapped up by 2004, just in time for the unveiling of the statue’s 500th anniversary in Florence’s Accademia Gallery.
Even at the time, 10 years ago, New Scientist reported the cracked ankles being a problem — reportedly one being “carefully monitored” by an art conservation team. According to New Scientist, a group at Perugia University estimates the cracks to originate from beneath the statue’s base following erosion from a flood in 1844.
Currently, the worry surrounding David is that he’ll shatter following an earthquake of any magnitude. Researchers and curators have yet to establish whether David will be transported to another city or art facility this year.
Michelangelo’s David is a Renaissance masterpiece, made by the Italian artist between 1501 and 1504. Representing the Biblical hero David, a favoured art subject in Florence at the time, the statue became popular following its unveiling in 1504.
Originally, the statue was placed in a public square outside the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. Today, a replica stands in the original’s place, while David awaits next steps in the Accademia Gallery.