Renaissance art lesson featuring Michelangelo’s David dubbed 'pornographic' by parent as principal resigns

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A principal has resigned after a parent complained about the children being shown Michelangelo’s statue of David during a Renaissance art lesson, calling it ‘pornograhic’

A principal at a school in Florida has resigned after a parent complained that students were exposed to pornography. The sixth grade students, aged 11-12, were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David in a Renaissance art lesson.

The figure is one of the most famous in Western history, created by sculptor Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. However, a parent has filed a complaint about the Principal, stating the statue is pornographic, and two others saying they would have wanted to know about the class before it was taught.

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The 17ft sculpture features an entirely naked figure named David, the man who kills Goliath in the Bible. The art lesson also included references to Michelangelo’s "Creation of Adam" painting and Botticelli’s "Birth of Venus".

According to the BBC, Principal Hope Carrasaquilla of Tallahassee Classical School in Florida said she resigned after she was given an ultimatum by the school board to resign or be fired.

Local media has since reported that Principal Carrasquilla, who had been at the school less than a year, did not know the reason she was asked to resign, but believed it was related to the complaints filed by parents over the lesson.

In an interview with US outlet Slate, Barney Bishop III, the chair of the school’s board, stated the principal sent a letter to parents warning them that last year’s students were going to see Michelangelo’s David. However, the notice wasn’t given to parents for this year’s lesson on the topic.

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The chairman called it an "egregious mistake" and said that "parents are entitled to know anytime their child is being taught a controversial topic and picture".

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Michelangelo’s David statueMichelangelo’s David statue
Michelangelo’s David statue | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Mr Bishop added: "We’re not going to show the full statue of David to kindergartners. We’re not going to show him to second graders. Showing the entire statue of David is appropriate at some age. We’re going to figure out when that is.”

On March 23, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, expanded a law that banned public schools from teaching gender identity and sex education. Those who violate the law face losing their teaching licence or being suspended.

Michelangelo’s David was instantly hailed as a masterpiece once it was finished by the sculptor, with Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari claiming it "surpassed" any statue in history. Queen Victoria gifted a copy of the David statue to the South Kensington museum - later known as V&A - in 1857.

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