"Damage to David"
More than a million people yearly visit the Galleria dell' Academia in Florence, Italy, to view the 17-foot-tall masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti's biblical shepherd, known as David. As noted in a previous column, weather has caused damage to the 505 year-old statue. In 1512, lightning struck its base and in 1527 the left arm was broken during riots against Florence's ruling Medici family. From 1808 through 1815, the statue was coated with wax for weather proofing and later cleaned with steel brushes and an acidic solution. Repairs today include applications with cotton swabs and distilled water that are applied to David's face. To remove body contaminants, experts apply cellulose pulp and clay. In 1991, a vandal smacked David's foot with a hammer and damaged a toe