The Florentine museum that houses Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture David (1501-04) is engaging in an unusual type of cultural diplomacy. Following the resignation of Hope Carrasquilla, a principal in at a Florida school whose lesson featuring the 16th century statue caused parental uproar, admnistrators at Galleria dell’Accademia and the mayor of Florence have reached out to both Carrasquilla and her pupils, offering front row seats to the marble masterpiece.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three parents complained about the “controversial” statue’s inclusion in Tallahassee Classical School’s curriculum—one even deemed the artwork “pornographic”. As a result of these complaints, Hope Carrasquilla, the conservative charter school’s principal, was ousted by the board after less than a year on the job.
“To think that David could be pornographic means truly not understanding the contents of the Bible, not understanding Western culture and not understanding Renaissance art,” Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, told the Associated Press. She then invited Carrasquilla, the Tallahassee Classical School's board, the outraged parents and the entire student body to come view the “purity” of David in situ.
Florence mayor Dario Nardella also tweeted an invitation for Carrasquilla to visit the city so he could honour her personally, calling the entire kerfuffle “ridiculous”.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Carrasquilla indicated that she may accept the invitations. “I am totally, like, wow,” she said. “I’ve been to Florence before and have seen the David up close and in person, but I would love to go and be a guest of the mayor.”
Barney Bishop III, chairman of Tallahassee Classical School's board, continues to defend the decision to oust Carrasquilla. “Parents are entitled to know anytime their child is being taught a controversial topic and picture,” he told Slate.