In Brief

Russians Vote to Dress Up “David” Replica to Appease Local Prudes

The censored replica of Michelangelo's David in St. Petersburg (photo via
The censored replica of Michelangelo’s David in St. Petersburg (photo via @misha.ivanov/Instagram)

St. Petersburg residents will vote on how to dress a replica statue of Michelangelo’s “David” that came to the city in May, following a complaint from a woman who said his nudity “spoils the city’s historic appearance and warps children’s souls.”

Erected as part of the ongoing Michelangelo. World Creation exhibition at St. Anne’s Lutheran Church in central St. Petersburg, the 16-foot-tall plastic copy compelled the outraged local to pen a letter last week to the Children’s Right’s Ombudsman, as Lenta first reported.

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Covering up David’s parts (GIF by the author for Hyperallergic via @annetttta/Instagram)

“How could you put this bloke without any trousers on in the center of St Petersburg, next to a school and a church?,” asks the letter, whose writer is identified on the ombudsman’s website only as “Inna.” While the online post notes that officials have tried to convince Inna that many other naked statues have stood around town for years, she said she still intends to write to all relevant authorities to achieve an “early elimination of the giant.” Parents and teachers have also apparently complained about the replica, which is scheduled to remain up until the exhibition ends in October.

The organizers of the show have been quite accommodating, though — or at least quick to identify promotional opportunities — and decided to allow the public to settle the situation through an unnecessarily tedious process. This week, they launched the monthlong “Dress David” initiative, which invites people to play stylist to the famous nude Renaissance work and submit ideas for outfits, complete with explanations for why David should appear in the proposed garb. An online voting session for selected concepts will open on August 16, with a winner announced a week later. Voters will also have the option to leave the statue as Michelangelo’s original has stood for centuries.

“Next, we will make a costume for the [winning idea] and put him in a solemn ceremony on 30 August,” a spokesperson for the exhibition told RIA-Novosti. ” Or we will not do anything.”

In the meantime, organizers have crudely taped a black circular object over the statue’s offending member to protect the untainted souls of passing schoolchildren.

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