Donatello's David was gilded. I bet you didn't know that! Yeah, well that's OK because no one did. No, really… Don't feel bad. My Art History teacher who has lived in Florence for the past 12 years didn't even know Donatello's David was gilded until we walked into the Bargello sculpture museum the other day. You see, the bronze statue is under restoration right now, and with works as famous as that they perform the restoration right in the museum so the tourists don't get angry if it's not there. This is a pretty impressive discovery considering that something as flashy as a gold (gilding) could change the entire look of a statue. Now, the gold didn't coat the whole piece, but instead highlighted certain areas such as the hair. Pretty Impressive!
Florence is the restoration capitol of the world. It is said that 60% of the world's great art is housed within Italy and 30% of the world's greatest are is in Florence. Now imagine Florence flooding and that much of the world's artistic wealth is sitting under water. Well, it happened. All of the great restorers of the world decided to come to Florence and pool their techniques and expertise to help save the art. Today, in Italian colleges students can major in chemistry for art restoration and other seemingly obscure foci dealing with the preservation of art. Restorers clean works with everything from not taking anything original off to not putting anything removable on. The occupation is an art form in and of itself. Perhaps, I'll switch my major to chemistry…