Art and Culture

‘David' Statue Controversy Creates Permanent Rift Between Michigan College, Florida Charter School

A Tallahassee Classical School Principal Hope Carrasquilla resigned last week after an image of Michelangelo’s David was shown to a sixth-grade art class

A Michigan college has ended its partnership with a Florida charter school whose principal was forced to resign after a parent complained sixth graders were exposed to pornography during a lesson on Renaissance art that included Michelangelo’s David sculpture.

A Hillsdale College spokesperson said Tallahassee Classical School no longer is affiliated with the small, Christian classical liberal arts college in southern Michigan, MLive.com reported Thursday.

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“This drama around teaching Michelangelo’s ‘David’ sculpture, one of the most important works of art in existence, has become a distraction from, and a parody of, the actual aims of classical education,” spokesperson Emily Stack Davis wrote in a statement. “Of course, Hillsdale’s K-12 art curriculum includes Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and other works of art that depict the human form.”

Tallahassee Classical School was licensed to use Hillsdale's classical education curriculum, but its license was "revoked and will expire at the end of the school year,” Davis said.

Hillsdale provides K-12 curriculum in partnership with dozens of charter schools across the country.

The Florida school's principal Hope Carrasquilla resigned last week following an ultimatum from the school board’s chairman.

Carrasquilla told the Tallahassee Democrat one parent complained the material was pornographic and two other parents said they wanted to be notified of the lesson before it was given to their children. The instruction also included Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” painting and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”

Tallahassee Classical School did not immediately respond to phone messages left Thursday seeking comment.

After Carrasquilla resigned, the Florence museum housing the David on Sunday invited parents and students from Tallahassee Classical School to visit the statue in person. Florence’s mayor also tweeted an invitation to Carrasquilla so he could personally honor her.

The David statue’s nudity has been part of a centuries-old debate about art pushing boundaries and the rules of censorship. In the 1500s, metal fig leaves covered the genitals of statues like the David when the Roman Catholic Church deemed nudity as immodest and obscene.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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