Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Michael M'Angelo's "Dave"

"Well there he is, Michaelangelo's Dave."

- Homer Simpson, the Itchy and Scratchy episode

Jian and I were sitting behind the Dave, in the middle of a group of French schoolkids. The Dave's a stupendous sight, an awe-inspiring example of delicacy, sensitivity and strength, all carved out of solid rock. There's a pretty good reason it's the most famous statue in the world, and we were speechless for a good while. 

Still, we were sitting at the back of him. 

"So what do you think of his arse?"

Jian looked at me funnily. It's not the kind of question she was expecting, I suppose. 

"It's a bit flat and uninspiring," I continued. "The front of him's so tense and sculptured, but his arse is so loose and relaxed. Really strange. I thought it would've been a bit more perky and rounded."

She starting giggling in spite of herself. The Dave's supposed to inspire awe and admiration, and from the front, it usually does. It really is a fabulous statue. His face is soulful and doubtful as you approach him from the front, and but his expression turns into steely determination as you walk around him. His hands are tense and he holds that stone so pensively that it's poetry chiselled out of rock. His feet are perfectly balance, at that moment of rest before rapid, violence action. 

But if you've been staring at his arse for ten minutes, the lasting impression is that the Dave's a remarkably calm boy. His buttocks are flaccid and flat. It's a sign of repose. Of calm. Of the certainty of knowing that he's in the hands of God, and not even a Palestinian giant can harm him. 

You gotta admire a faith like that. And you got to admire the genius of Michaelangelo, who's so good that he can use a pair of flabby butt-cheeks to remind one of the confidence of youth and the power of faith. 

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