SHOCK OF THE NEW

Mapplethorpe meets Michelangelo

An exhibition of the provocative nude photography of Robert Mapplethorpe at the Accademia Gallery in Florence—home to Michelangelo's David—has just been extended, due to popular demand, through January 2010. Robert Mapplethorpe: Perfection in Form is the first exhibition of contemporary art ever to be shown in the Italian museum, where other well-known works by Michelangelo are also on view. Mapplethorpe’s photographic portrayals of athletic flesh are hung next to the Renaissance master’s work—reclaiming its significance for our time. Guardian art-blogger Jonathan Jones thinks, “this is a great new direction for Florentine museums to take.” Ironically, Mapplethorpe, who was once banned in US for being too shocking, is now being enthusiastically embraced by conservative Italy.