Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 27 March 2023

The Perils of Art History

These days academics in the humanities are vulnerable to assault on so many fronts for not being “woke” and attuned to the latest political sensibilities. We, and they, are getting used to it, alas. 

However the latest story of this sort from the US is slightly different, and, seemingly, even more bizarre. I am sure many readers will have read about the Florida parents who objected to not being warned in advance that their children were going to be shown photographs of Michelangelo’s “David” as part of a course on The Renaissance. One parent described it as “pornographic”. As a result the school principal was sacked. 

I am sure readers will join me in shaking their heads at such an approach to one of the high points of artistic creativity of the Italian Renaissance or indeed of any other era.

The Los Angeles Times also reports on the offer of a school trip for the children to see the original statue from the Mayor of Florence at After Florida school uproar, Italy extends an invitation to view Michelangelo's 'David' as does the Evening Standard at Museum wants parents to see Michelangelo’s David after statue branded ‘pornographic’

At the risk of having my blog labelled as pornographic - I should be so lucky/unlucky -  here is a reminder of the offending statue:

david-full-frontMichelangelo’s “David” 1501-4Image: accademia.org
For those who wish to be corrupted further Wikipedia has an illustrated account of the statue at David (Michelangelo) and the Accademia website has one also at Michelangelo's David: Admire World's Greatest Sculpture at Accademia Gallery

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