On David and Florence

History turning to an account of reading for pathos. A statue becomes emblematic of the city.

Those who are more astute, of course, brave the long lines outside the Accademia in order to see David in his authentic and inimitable glory. Living as he does now in a tribune, one might expect him to have taken on an expression of arrogance, yet in fact — and despite the change of circumstance — his look of vulnerability seems only to have intensified over the years. Perhaps this is due to old age, a lingering ache in his left arm, or in the second toe of his left foot, which a vandal broke in 1991. To invent such a motive, I know, is to assume that the statue has an identity distinct from that of the Biblical figure it represents, or even the marble from which it was hewn; indeed, it is to assume that the statue has a consciousness. And what might such a consciousness — at once freighted and fragile — possibly resemble? What kind of memory would stone possess? We can only imagine.

For some readers, this stands as a surrogate for the Anglo-Florentine colony that is the subject of David Leavitt Florence, A Delicate Case. But we are not sure.

And so for day 1676

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