Giving Art The Finger

What better place to write a CAPS article than in Italy's renaissance town of Florence and what better subject to write about then art? Sitting here in the Accademia Gallery staring at the famous statue of Michelangelo’s David makes me think back to my first trip to St. Petersburg and the famed Hermitage Museum. While wandering around I committed an act of severe terribleness, and immediately was overcome with immense remorse. I walked over to Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous 'Madonna and Child' and when no one was looking touched the paint with my bare finger.

The thought of laying my finger on original paint from the fifteenth century, created by one, if not the most famous artist in history was my driving force. I no sooner touched the image when I pulled back my finger in guilt and quickly looked around to make certain I was not seen.

It was quite disturbing that so many of these magnificent pieces of art are unattended and exposed to the elements. I remember a few years back staring at the Sphinx in Giza and wondering why the letter 'D' was crudely carved into its ear. The defacement dates back to the late 1800's when sand covered all but the Sphinx’s head and British tourists casually walked up and carved their own form of graffiti into the ancient artifact. Although I certainly did not deface anything, I did feel bad for having touched the painting.

I continued my trek and came upon a series of Ruben's (definitely one of my favourite painters, who of course is Dutch). The gigantic canvases came to life as I stared at them, but suddenly I noticed one piece of art was roped off and covered with a cloth. I pondered the area and looked for an attendant, to ask why it was being restored and none of the others.