News > World > Europe Michelangelo masterpiece could collapse from David’s weak ankles
Michelangelo’s David is at risk of falling over after an earthquake or roadworks because of fractures in the statue’s ankles, researchers have said.
Experts from the National Research Council and Florence University made plaster replicas of the statue, and subjected them to high forces.
Small fractures in the statue’s ankle — likely developed when it was displayed outside, leaning forward — mean that they could be unable to support the rest of its body. Attempts to cover the breaks with plaster have frequently failed.
“Micro-fractures are visible in the left ankle and the carved tree stump (that bears some of David’s weight), threatening the stability of the sculpture,” the National Research Council warned.
The statue’s weight, pose and the low-quality marble it is made of mean that it could topple in time, or if it is disrupted by an earthquake or roadworks or maintenance of its home in the Accademia Gallery, researchers have warned. The marble contains microscopic holes that cause it to deteriorate faster than other materials.