Glasgow, rejected subway advertisement with Michelangelo's David: pea can be seen

The company that manages billboards on the Glasgow, Scotland, subway turned down a restaurant advertisement featuring Michelangelo's David. The reason? The biblical hero's genitals in view.

Just weeks after the American teacher was forced to resign from her school for showing Michelangelo’s statue of David to her students, now it is from Scotland that comes another blow of misplaced puritanism for Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Italian restaurant Barolo wanted to advertise in poster spaces on the Glasgow subway but Global, the company that manages the spaces, rejected the graphic design on the grounds that it was too prominent of a male genital organ. This was reported in The Herald of Scotland newspaper on May 17.

The advertising design played on the image of the full-length David holding a piece of pizza (instead of a slingshot) and the slogan “It doesn’t get more Italian” (“It doesn’t get more Italian”) with his genitals in full view at eye level: scandal! In the country where men wear kilts with nothing underneath, displaying the Italian symbol in this way was deemed obscene. The editors of the advertising campaign tried to propose alternative solutions such as superimposing an Italian tricolor on top of the element of shame, but it was deemed “too small” (locker room ironies abound, we know).

The director of the restaurant group that runs Barolo, Mario Gizzi, expressed his perplexity: “This is a globally recognized work of art, it is taught in schools. It’s not 1500 anymore, it’s 2023. Are we really saying that the people of Glasgow can’t stand to see a naked statue?” In spite of the paradoxical “epic fail” of our countryman, who trying to defend himself shows a distorted idea of history and society (just walking in the Italian streets in the 1500s you could see naked men and women sculpted in many squares, and no one had a problem with it), indeed the refusal has someabsurd, since the subway operators have acknowledged that Michelangelo’s David is art (and they’d better be), but they have also reiterated that “it is nudity perhaps not appropriate for this medium.”

There has also been a heated debate in Scotland at the professional advertising level about the code of conduct to be used for their initiatives: nudity per se is not prohibited, says the Advertising Standards Authority, but it remains the right of space holders to reject it based on the content and use and the type of audience intercepted. Perhaps it would suffice for everyone to do a general review of Art History

The incriminating advertisement
The offending advertisement

Glasgow, rejected subway advertisement with Michelangelo's David: pea can be seen
Glasgow, rejected subway advertisement with Michelangelo's David: pea can be seen

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