Subway Ad Showing Michelangelo’s ‘David’ Pulled Due to Nudity

Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture David is in hot water again. An image of the 14-foot marble Renaissance icon in Florence was deemed inappropriate for the subway system in Glasgow, Scotland, due to the statue’s nudity.

The famous statue recently made headlines after parents complained about its inclusion in the curriculum of a conservative charter school in Florida.

The advertisement was for the Barolo restaurant in the city center of Glasgow, part of the DRG Group of hospitality establishments. The poster showed David eating a slice of pizza and sported the tag line, “It doesn’t get more Italian.”

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FLORENCE, ITALY - AUGUST 18 : Michelangelo's David statue as it resides inside the Galleria Dell' Academia, August 18, 1986 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

The firm that manages the advertising space for Glasgow’s subway system rejected the initial cropped image of David submitted by Barolo, prompting a second revision after stickers of the Italian flag on the crotch area “weren’t actually big enough”, Nadine Carmichael, head of sales and marketing at the DRG Group, told the BBC.

DRG Group director Mario Gizzi said his company was “bemused” to hear the initial decision. “This is a globally recognized piece of art,” he told The Herald newspaper in Scotland. “It is taught in schools. People from all over the world travel to see it. It’s not the 1500s anymore, it’s 2023. Are we really saying that the people of Glasgow can’t handle seeing a naked statue?”

The final, fully reprinted adverts for Barolo that were approved by Global for display featured the marble sculpture cropped at the waist.

Michelangelo’s striking portrayal of the biblical figure became the center of a high-profile culture war in Florida after Hope Carrasquilla, principal of the Tallahassee Classical School, resigned following complaints from some parents. Carrasquilla came under fire in March after showing sixth graders an image of David. The incident garnered global headlines and also became the subject of a skit on Saturday Night Live. Carrasquilla and her family were later invited to view the statue in person on an all-expenses paid trip to the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Global did not respond to a request for comment from ARTnews.

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