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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Michelangelo Makes It to DC

If you want to take in the magnificence that is Michelangelo in DC you still have some time, but you'll have to hurry. Michelangelo's sculpture David-Apollo will be on view at the National Gallery of Art until March 3.

The loan of the statue from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence was designed to open a Year of Italian Culture 2013 celebration here in Washington.

This is actually the 2nd time the rare marble statue has been on display at the National Gallery. It was also on loan  60 years ago to reaffirm the friendship and cultural ties that link Italy and the United States.

The subject of David-Apollo, like its form, is unresolved. Some scholars believe Michelangelo intended to create an Apollo drawing arrows from a quiver. Others contend that it was to be the biblical giant-killer David, a favorite Florentine symbol of resistance to tyranny.

Michelangelo carved the statue for Baccio Valori, who was appointed governor of Florence in 1530 after the Medici had crushed a resurgence in the republic. Having fought on the Republican side, Michelangelo needed to make peace with the Medici and sought to please them with the work.

The statue embodies a highly personal aspect of Michelangelo's work - his habit of leaving sculptures unfinished. Art historians know that the artists regularly took on more work than he could realistically complete and speculate that he left some of those statues unfinished because he sensed his finished work would not live up to his exalted sense of beauty and perfection.

Tales,Tidbits, and Tips
While you might not be in time to view the David-Apollo, you will have many more chances to take in Italian culture both in DC and other cities. To view a Washington Post article about the celebration click here. To see a listing of all events, click here.

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