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The Sunday Read: ‘David’s Ankles’

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There are cracks in the ankles of Michelangelo’s David. The weakness was first discovered in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until a paper by Italian geoscientists was published in 2014 that the extent of the statue’s precariousness was fully understood: If the David were to be tilted 15 degrees, his ankles would fail.

“We are conditioned to believe that art is safe,” Sam Anderson, a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, explained in this week’s The Sunday Read. “Destruction happens in a number of ways, for any number of reasons, at any number of speeds — and it will happen, and no amount of reverence will stop it.”

Sam explores his personal relationship with the David and the imperfections that could bring down the world’s most “perfect” statue.

ImageA crew working on a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David in Carrara, Italy.
Credit…Photo illustration by Maurizio Cattelan for The New York Times.

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