Florentines misunderstood a gift

Statue of David. Early 20thC. Bronze. Ningbo, China

Two years ago the authorities of Florence and the Chinese city Ningbo began the program of the peculiar cultural exchange aimed to promote the strengthening of both cultural and economic relations between Italy and China. Then, Florentines donated inhabitants of Heavenly Empire the excellent bronze sculpture which had decorated the Piazza della Signoria square since 1900. The copy of the famous marble Michelangelo’s “David” delighted inhabitants of Ningbo so much that they decided to answer in return. The same year Italy received two enormous stone monoliths The Smiling Soldier and The Official executed according to a classical Chinese sculpture of Tang Dynasty.

As it turned out the huge four-metre statues did not harmonize with the exquisite architecture of Florence. People did not like them so much that launched the active campaign to remove “huge” and “ugly” sculptures out of the city. As a result, contrary to the donators’ instructions to place the sculptures in the open air at flowing water both “Soldier” and “Official” were sent to a warehouse where they are till now.

Florence has almost forgotten about the Chinese gift as suddenly they get the information that Ningbo is going to send its delegation which will arrive to Italy in the end of a month. Now the officials try to convince local residents to accept sculptures and to place them in the city suburbs at least. However Florentines are adamant in their decision. “Sculptures are ugly and too huge, − the representative of the local community Andrea Ceccarelli comments on the situation. − Besides, they interfere with the automobile movement and can be dangerous”.

The Florentine authorities desperately try to find a place for the Chinese sculptures before the delegation arrives in the city. They are afraid that if the truth reveals the offended inhabitants of Ningbo can take away or damage the sculpture of David in spite of the fact that two years ago they met her with fireworks and reported on the event in mass-media. The representative of city administration Silvano Gori, one of the initiators of a cultural exchange having shown his discontent with the reaction of townspeople commented on the situation: “Hardly you offer Florentines any innovation, they began to scandal”.

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Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 8:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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