Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
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Florence welcomes US principal ousted over David statue

Florence rolls out red carpet for Hope Carrasquilla.

Florence mayor Dario Nardella on Saturday welcomed the US school principal who was forced to resign after parents complained that children were shown "pornographic" images of Michelangelo’s David statue.

Hope Carrasquilla, the former principal of Tallahassee Classical School in Florida, was presented with an award "in the name of art and culture" during a ceremony at Palazzo Vecchio in the city's historic centre.

"I think it is a gesture that lets the whole world know what the beauty of Florence is, what Michelangelo's David symbolises" - Nardella told reporters - "and that nudity in art can never, ever, ever be considered profanity or pornography".

In a post on Twitter welcoming Carrasquilla to Florence, Nardella wrote: "Art is civilisation and whoever teaches it deserves respect."

Also present at the encounter on Saturday were Friends of Florence president Simonetta Brandolini D'Adda, who helped to organise the initiative, and Accademia delle arti del disegno president Cristina Acidini.

Last month, after the David controversy made world headlines, Nardella personally invited Carrasquilla to Florence and promised to give her a recognition on behalf of the city.

She accepted the invitation which was organised and sponsored by Friends of Florence.

Background to case

The incident occurred following a Renaissance art lesson which included images of the David statue as well as Michelangelo's Birth of Adam and Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Several parents complained, with one allegedly claiming that the sixth grade students were exposed to pornographic material, and other parents saying they should have been informed in advance about the nature of the lesson, as per school procedure.

Carrasaquilla was given the ultimatum by the school board to either resign or be fired.

Speaking in Florence on Saturday, Carrasquilla said the episode has "caused a lot of things to happen for the school which are not all positive but I hope that some light is shed on this, and that Renaissance art teaching will no longer be a problem for anyone".

She insisted that there was "nothing wrong" with the "beautiful" art lesson that led to her departure from the school, adding: "I hope to show more people the classical education and to highlight it, so I want something good to definitely come out of what happened."

On Friday Carrasquilla and her family visited Michelangelo's statue in person at the Galleria dell'Accademia whose director Cecilie Hollberg said it was an "immense pleasure" to host the US guests.

In a statement Hollberg stressed that David has "nothing to do with pornography," describing the work as "a masterpiece, it represents a religious symbol of purity and innocence, the victory of good over evil."

Photo Dario Nardella

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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