Downfall of Michelangelo's David: Weak Ankles?

Researchers: Masterpiece could collapse
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 11:27 AM CDT
Updated May 4, 2014 7:00 PM CDT
Downfall of Michelangelo's David : Weak Ankles?
Michelangelo's marble statue of "David", is seen in Florence's Galleria dell' Accademia in this Monday, May 24, 2004 file photo.   (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi, File)

Michelangelo's David has two bum ankles—and surgery isn't helping the masterpiece. Despite plastering over micro-fractures that have appeared over the years, David's ankles are so bad researchers fear the marble Golaith-slayer could soon collapse under his own massive 5.5-ton weight, reports the BBC by way of Italy's La Repubblica. After exposing replicas to pressures stronger than the force of gravity, researchers found the statue's ankles are just too thin to support it. Not helping matters? Michelangelo picked a less-than-stellar quality marble, and carved David in an off-center pose. There also appears to be damage in the tree stump behind David's right leg, which bears the brunt of his weight.

So what's to be done? Well, some suggest moving the 17-foot structure away from the city of Florence, which has a recorded history of 127 minor earthquakes, or at least moving it to an earthquake-proof room, reports La Gazetta del Sud. As for those who warned that a train line built nearby a few years ago would cause David to collapse, researchers say it was more likely the three centuries standing at a dangerous, forward-leaning position in Florence's main square that did the damage. (More Michelangelo stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.