Mary MacCarthy · 21 ratings · 2 reviews · 6 distinct worksMore books by Mary MacCarthy…
“Among the people, it was believed, as late as the present century, that spirits were imprisoned in statues. The statue of Neptune by Ammanati in the fountain of the Piazza della Signoria is called 'Il Biancone' or 'The Great White Man' by the poor people, who used to say that he was the mighty river god of the Arno tuned into statue because, like Michelangelo, he spurned the love of women. When the full moon shines on him, so the story goes, he comes to life and walks about the Piazza conversing with the other statues. Michelangelo's 'David', before it became a statue, used to be known as 'The Giant'. It was a great block of marble eighteen feet high that had been spoiled by Agostino di Duccio; personified by popular fancy, it lay for forty years in the workshops of the Cathedral, until Michelangelo made the Giant-Killer, that is, into a patriotic image of a small country defeating its larger foes. Giants, it was related, had built the great Etruscan stone wall of Fiesole, and many stories were told in Florence of beautiful maidens being turned into pure white marble statues.”
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