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Michelangelo's 'David' ready to fall, researchers say

The 17-foot Renaissance sculpture has micro-stress fractures threatening its stability.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   April 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM

FLORENCE , Italy, April 30 (UPI) -- Michelangelo's 17-foot tall marble statue of “David” risks toppling under its own weight, researchers of the Italian National Research Council and the University of Florence warned Wednesday.

The famous example of Renaissance sculpture, created from 1501 to 1504, has micro-stress fractures in “the left ankle and the carved tree stump (at the subject’s right foot), threatening the stability of the sculpture,” the council said in a statement.

Visible cracks in the lower sections have been routinely covered in plaster, and likely developed while the sculpture stood outside in the main square of Florence after it was created.

“David” was installed in the Galleria dell’Accademia art museum in Florence, an earthquake-prone area, in 1873, after 469 years outdoors, and has stood there since. Florence has a history of 127 small earthquakes, none of which exceeded magnitude five on the Richter scale.

It has been suggested in the past the marble sculpture, which has never been officially weighed, be moved to an earthquake-proof underground room to protect it from seismic activity, or to a structure specially built to accommodate it.

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