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Archaeology & Anthropology: Open Access

500 Years Standing Up: Earthquakes from the Michelangelo’s David Ankles Perspective

Submission: August 27, 2018 ; Published: September 07, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/AAOA.2018.02.000545

ISSN: 2577-1949
Volume2 Issue5


Earthquakes could distress the long-term stability and preservation of the David marble statue of Michelangelo Buonarroti, a universally recognized masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, presently exhibited in Galleria dell’ Accademia (Firenze, Italy). Small-scale tests indicated that the multiple hairline cracks of unknown origin located at the David’s ankles are likely weak point of the statue. In 1994, a full-size David marble replica located at Glendale (CA, USA) broke along ankles cracks caused by the Northridge (CA) earthquake. Although both statues were carved from the Apuane Alps (Italy), petrographic fabric of the original David and the replica marbles are rather different. Investigation of historical earthquake and available seismic data at Firenze showed a 500 year-recurrence time of ground acceleration values comparable to that of the Glendale event. Therefore, there is a small, but finite, seismic risk for the David statue in its present location, suggesting the opportunity of appropriate protection measures.

Keywords: Firenze; Michelangelo’s david; Marble; Preservation; Earthquake

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