Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Cast - Fig Leaf for <i>David</i>

Fig Leaf for David

  • Object:

    Cast

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1857 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    D. Brucciani & Co. (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1857A-161

  • Gallery location:

    Fashion, room 40

This fig-leaf was hung on the David on the occasion of visits by royal ladies. It was last used in the time of Queen Mary (1867-1953). According to anecdotal information, on her first encounter with the cast of 'David', Queen Victoria was so shocked by his nudity that a firm suggestion was made that something has to be done. Consequently, the correctly proportioned fig leaf was created and stored in readiness for any visit the Queen might make, for which occasions it was hung on the figure from two strategically implanted hooks.
The Queen was not alone in her objection to David's nudity. In 1903 a Mr. Dobson protested to the museum about the nude male statuary displayed: "One can hardly designate these figures as 'art'!, if it is, it is a very objectionable form of art."
Tin fig leaves had been used in the early years of the Museum on other nude statuary but, along with the British Museum, the authorities at South Kensington dismissed later objections, noting that "The antique casts gallery has been very much used by private lady teachers for the instruction of young girl students and none of them have ever complained even directly." The fig leave is currently displayed in a case attached to the back of the pedestal for David in the east Cast Court.

Physical description

Plaster fig Leaf for the cast of the figure of Michelangelo's "David"

Place of Origin

England (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1857 (made)

Artist/maker

D. Brucciani & Co. (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 40 cm, Width: 30 cm, Depth: 17 cm, Weight: 3 kg

Object history note

Acquired in 1857, further details of acquisition unrecorded.

Historical context note

This fig-leaf was hung on the David on the occasion of visits by royal ladies. It was last used in the time of Queen Mary (1867-1953). According to anecdotal information, on her first encounter with the cast of 'David', Queen Victoria was so shocked by his nudity that a firm suggestion was made that something has to be done. Consequently, the correctly proportioned fig leaf was created and stored in readiness for any visit the Queen might make, for which occasions it was hung on the figure from two strategically implanted hooks.
The Queen was not alone in her objection to David's nudity. In 1903 a Mr. Dobson protested to the museum about the nude male statuary displayed: "One can hardly designate these figures as 'art'!, if it is, it is a very objectionable form of art."
Tin fig leaves had been used in the early years of the Museum on other nude statuary but, along with the British Museum, the authorities at South Kensington dismissed later objections, noting that "The antique casts gallery has been very much used by private lady teachers for the instruction of young girl students and none of them have ever complained even directly." The fig leave is currently displayed in a case attached to the back of the pedestal for David in the east Cast Court.

Descriptive line

Fig Leaf for David, plaster, perhaps by the firm of D.Brucciani & Co., probably England, ca. 1857

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Leaf (plant material); Fig leaf

Categories

Sculpture; Gender and Sexuality

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.

Ajax-loader