Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More than a million people visit the Galleria dell’ Academia annually in Florence, Italy, to view the 17-foot masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s biblical shepherd, known as David. As noted in a previous column, weather has caused damage to the 509-year-old statue. In 1512, lightning struck its base; in 1527 the left arm was broken during riots against Florence’s ruling Medici family. From 1808 through 1815, the statue was coated with wax for weather proofing and later cleaned with steel brushes and an acidic solution. Repairs today include applications with cotton swabs and distilled water applied to David’s face. To remove body contaminants, experts apply cellulose pulp and clay. In 1991, a vandal smacked David’s foot with a hammer and damaged a toe.

Fastcast: Hot, humid.