Earthquake-Proofing Michelangelo’s David

After more than 250 small earthquakes shook Italy last week, the Italian Ministry of Culture announced it will spend $245,000 on an anti-seismic base to secure Michelangelo’s statue of David. The 17-foot marble figure is housed in Florence at the Accademia Gallery. The news follows a study released last spring that showed the sculpture was in great danger, with several micro-fractures observed in its ankles and base. Tourist crowds and nearby traffic weren’t helping. At the time, authorities announced they would stabilize the work with a new base, but funding for the project wasn’t immediately available. A new plinth will increase the statue’s chances of surviving in an earthquake by diffusing the ground’s movement. The shock-absorbing technology was first pioneered by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which sits on a precarious fault line, and it has since been used around the world.

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