This post isn’t likely to be particularly erudite as I am suffering from jet lag; Barry and I are just home from a glorious trip to Rome and Florence. While I am extremely passionate about today’s topic, I’m just beginning my extended research into The David, so even if I weren’t suffering from jet lag, I’m not sure how learnedly I could speak about this. But I have to write about him so I can get back to writing my novel! I’m preoccupied with him.
In the summer of 2011 I saw Michelangelo’s David for the first time. I think I’ve written elsewhere about my stunned reaction. While I do suffer from Stendhal’s Syndrome (basically being overwhelmed by great art to the point of crying or fainting), this was an extreme case. I didn’t want to leave The David. I had the urge to move to Florence and protect him, visit him every day. I cried when I had to leave, ugly tears, pleading tears. For a moment I refused to leave, stamping my foot as if I were five. I kept looking backwards, telling him I’d return to him some day. Not that I really imagined I would.
Then I wrote a tedious, 15-page essay trying to explain the experience and my personal connections to the statue. My apologies to my classmates who had to read it.
I was going through some life stuff at the time not worth talking about now. I assumed part of my reaction to Michelangelo’s masterpiece was due to that. So when we decided to return to Italy, I wanted Barry to see The David with me, confident that though I would be happy to see the statue, surely I would be composed.
Uh, not so much. When we got in front of him, I barely stayed still long enough for us to get a blurry selfie of ourselves with our Carrera-carved friend. I may have said something snotty to the person with the camera about this not being a tourist trip. My husband who knows me so well knew I’d regret it later if I didn’t have a photo with David, so he persisted.
I did take photos to study later.
Then I began circling the marble man. (Wait, that’s hokey. Don’t care.) And the tears started. Mine, that is. Don’t ask me why I was crying. I can’t explain it, not really. Which made me cry more when I tried to explain to Barry why I was crying. Not that he was asking because the man has been married to me for 25 years.
Again, a recap of things I might have written about before: I first heard of The David when I was taking Art Appreciation as a senior. It was a college class but I was able to take it concurrently with my other classes. The class was enlightening. At the time, I never imagined that I would ever make it to Italy once, let alone twice.
When I said farewell to David this time, I again told him I’d be back. Not sure when, but I will be.
That sounds like a wrap, but it’s not.
The reason I can’t work on my novel right now is because I’ve wanted to write something substantial about The David since the first time I saw him. Fiction, no doubt. But The David’s been done. And besides, you have to have an angle that hasn’t been approached before and that’s not easy.
Finally, I think I do have an idea. At least for a short story. While I tend to write about women, I also believe artists are a breed unto themselves. Art is about no limits. (Within reason.) And if I can’t stand in front of this statue without crying, something in me surely wants to write about him. Which is exciting and scary.
But I’m not committing to more than a short story. (Please, oh please let that be true.)
In the meantime, I just may take a nap. Jet lag’s a bitch.