David statue’s penis has been censored again. A copy of Michelangelo’s masterpiece had to be shown at Dubai Expo 2020 in order to represent the Italian manufacturing skills, but ultimately its nudity was considered inappropriate. According to Forbes, nudity is not allowed in United Arab Emirates and the team behind the organization understood too late that bringing the statue was an error.
To avoid that the life-sized duplicate created diplomatic incidents and shocks in Arab society, the great statue is now contained inside an octagonal gallery, with no observation platforms for the private parts. The public can see only the head and the legs.
David censored in history
- Queen Victoria in 1857 was gifted with a 19-foot David statue. It was directly sent by the grand Duke of Tuscany to London, but when the queen saw the nudity she was shocked. She required to design a small-sized leaf to cover it up.
- In 1937, at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, a copy of David in marble was displayed, but already with a leaf. When it fell in 1972, it was replaced by another one. After the earthquake, it fell again and was replaced. The last copy broke in 2020.
- One peculiar incident. During a Renascence exhibition in 2012, Beijing Exhibition staff decided to pixelate David’s penis because it was considered inappropriate.
The measure taken by UAE staff for the EXPO was the source of contrasting opinions. If the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi defined it grotesque, Davide Rampello, the director of the Italian Pavillion considered this a new way to loom at the masterpiece.