The Florida Principal Fired for Allowing a Lesson on Michelangelo’s ‘David’ Went to Italy to See the Sculpture Herself—and Was Rather Impressed

“Michelangelo would have done him wrong to sculpt him in any other way," Hope Carrasquilla said.

Cecilie Hollberg (left) and Hope Carrasquilla (right) standing in front of Michaelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery in Florence. Photo: Accademia Gallery.

The former Tallahassee principal who was forced to resign following parental outrage over sixth-grade students being shown images of Michelangelo’s David in art class has visited the Renaissance masterpiece herself. Her verdict? She’s impressed.

Hope Carrasquilla travelled to Florence’s Accademia Gallery on April 28, along with her husband and two children, at the invitation of director Cecilie Hollberg and was struck by the work’s purity and its grand setting.

“The thing that impresses me the most is that this whole gallery was built for him. I think it’s beautiful, it looks like a church,” Carrasquilla said in a statement. “Michelangelo would have done him wrong to sculpt him in any other way. I think it’s wonderful.”

In March 2023, Carrasquilla, who had only held the principal’s post since the beginning of the academic calendar, was given an ultimatum by the Tallahassee Classical School’s board after parents lodged a range of complaints around the inclusion of the iconic nude in the school’s curriculum.

Some felt Michelangelo’s sculpture was “pornographic” and therefore age-inappropriate, others were dismayed at not having been notified ahead of time, a practice that is common at the school. The lesson also showed images of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, both works that contain nude bodies.

Hope Carrasquilla (right) was invited to the Accademia Gallery by its director Cecilie Hollberg. Photo courtesy of Accademia Gallery.

Tallahassee Classical School, a kindergarten through grade 10 charter institution, follows a classical education curriculum that aims to adhere to the founding tenets of Western civilization, and is becoming increasingly popular among proponents of America’s conservative Christian movement. The school has gone through three principals since opening in 2020.

In response to Carrasquilla’s dismissal, the Florida Department of Education released a statement supporting the teaching of Michelangelo’s David, saying it had “artistic and historic value.”

Carrasquilla’s family visit to Florence came after extensive correspondence with the Accademia Gallery’s director.

“I am delighted to personally introduce her to David, a sculpture that has nothing to do with pornography,” Hollberg said in a statement. “It is a masterpiece representing a religious symbol of purity and innocence, the triumph of good over evil.”

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