David Could Crumble: Engineer

Years of traffic, tourism put Michelangelo's marble masterpiece at risk
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2008 5:00 PM CDT
Michelangelo's marble statue of David is seen in Florence's Galleria dell' Accademia.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Michelangelo’s famed statue of David is in danger of collapse and must be stabilized, an Italian engineering professor tells ANSA. Failure isn’t imminent, though a major earthquake could topple the Renaissance masterwork on display in Florence. Small cracks in the statue, thought to have emerged during the 500 years the marble stood outside, were patched 4 years ago but have reappeared.

Some have suggested that the David be moved to a special earthquake-proof gallery in the museum where it resides, though major earthquakes are rare in Florence. David’s ankles are thought to be too weak to support his weight of more than 10,000 pounds; special scanning equipment is being fabricated to plumb the depths of the statue, crafted from poor-quality marble, to paint a definitive picture of its integrity. (Read more Michelangelo stories.)