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David finds a home in Burnie

RARE SIGHT: Burnie Regional Art Gallery’s Randolph Wylie admires Michelangelo’s David.Picture: Grant Wells.

THE City of Makers is now home to a work by one of the world’s greatest makers.

A cast of Michelangelo’s David has been put in place at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery ahead of the opening of Michelangelo: The Exhibition and will make a permanent home in Burnie.

The four-and-a-half metre high statue that has been assembled over the past days, arrived in Burnie in three pieces, having previously been on display in China.

Exhibition coordinator Randolph Wylie has been tasked with assembling the structure in the courtyard of the gallery.

Not feeling like Michelangelo himself, Mr Wylie did experience a “moment” of appreciation while putting the piece together from the scaffolding.

“I was patching (joints) and I was thinking about how much time would have been spent doing it from a solid block of marble,” Mr Wylie said.

Using a crane to put the piece in place, Mr Wylie said getting the correct angle of the torso on to the legs was quite a challenge.

“It is probably the hardest jigsaw puzzle in the world and it is only three pieces,” project officer, Birgitta Magnusson-Reid said.

The composite mould of plaster and fibreglass has been cast from a mould taken from the original David, whose home is the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy.

The statue weighs about 500 kilograms and sits atop a one-metre high plinth.

Ms Magnusson-Reid said although it was a cast, the piece was still quite rare given that casting antiquities was now outlawed in Italy.

“It is a very, very good copy,” she said.

The original piece was completed by Michelangelo in 1504 and was carved from a solid block of marble.

Ms Magnusson-Reid said David’s enlarged hands helped give perspective when looking up at the figure.

The exhibition will feature nine sculptures from the renaissance artist, including a separate bust and head sculpture of David.

“When you look at his head from different sides you see different things,” Ms Magnusson-Reid said

“One one side you get a very stern man and on the other a very young and innocent face.”

Michelangelo: The Exhibition will begin on March 12 and run until May 22.

The Burnie exhibition will be the premiere of the national tour and the only Tasmanian venue.

The statue of David was purchased from the input of several business, community groups and private partners.

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