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In Florence, Italy the black cloth that covers the marble statue of David was set fire three nights ago. The black covering was place on the copy of Michelangelo’s David in Piazza Signoria, by the mayor Dario Nardella as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine. The person responsible for the inflammatory gesture is Vaclav Pisvejcv, the Czech citizen already known as a serial vandal and also for hitting Marina Abramovic in the head with a painting in 2018. The man was arrested for arson the same evening of the fire .
The drama occurred around 8 pm. Vaclav Pisvejc would have climbed over the hedges that are on the steps of Palazzo Vecchio and set fire to the black cloth that covered the David. Immediate intervention of a security guard on duty at the Loggia dei Lanzi and a municipal agent who blocked him. The flames were extinguished by other agents with the fire extinguishers supplied in the service cars, then the firefighters also arrived on the spot.
The City Fine Arts Service has been alerted and will check for any damage. Just four days ago Vaclav Pisvejc was denounced for having painted Francesco Vezzoli’s rampant lion in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, which is also found in Piazza della Signoria in Florence. On March 7, another complaint because in via della Vigna Nuova he had replaced a road sign forbidding access with another where he had written “Putin” on the central strip.
Damages for 15,000 euros to the David in Piazza della Signoria
The action taken three evenings ago against the black cloth that, for a few days, as a sign of mourning for the war in Ukraine, wraps the copy of Michelangelo’s David in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, caused 15,000 euros in damage to the statue. The purpetrator, Vaclav Pisvejc, already known for other similar actions, in fact burned the cloth and was immediately arrested.
The Municipality of Florence has made it known that the fire caused the blackening of a large part of the surface of the sculpture which must be cleaned with specialized solvents.
This David is a Copy
The statue, a life-size copy of Michelangelo’s David preserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia, was created in 1910 by Luigi Arrighetti, a sculptor originally from Sesto Fiorentino who was commissioned to carry out the work after it was decided to transport the original from the square to the Accademia Gallery. Several years later a competition was held for the realization of the copy, and in 1910 Arrighetti won it.
Yesterday morning, an inspection was carried out by the Fine Arts technicians of the City of Florence and the contracted art conservators. In a few hours the carbonaceous residues of the combustion were removed, not consistent with the David but a dark patina resulting mainly from the smoke remained (especially on the shoulders and head) which must be removed with special solvents. The David, as well as the other sculptural groups in the square, had already been fully restored thanks to the funding of the Ferragamo Maison through Art Bonus which would begin in a few weeks.
Questions about protecting and maintaining public art? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 570 4140
Here’s an article about protecting murals: https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/varnishing-a-mural-antigraffiti-measures-protecting-public-art/
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