THE 16th-century Renaissance sculptor and artist Michelangelo is one of the greatest cultural figures of all time and millions of tourists descend on Florence every year to marvel at his works of art.

He was also a half-decent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but that’s by the by.

Michelangelo, the artist and not the turtle, created two of the most famous works ever produced, the statue David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

His naked David, which is 5.17m (17ft) tall and commemorates the biblical figure who slays Goliath, was the first colossal marble statue made after antiquity.

It depicts David as a “ripped” naked male and the bottom half leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. He is unarguably male.

But, despite the nudity, which may have scandalised 16th-century society, David’s magnificence so charmed the Florentines that it was placed in the public square in front of the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, in 1504, rather than inside the city’s cathedral as planned.

Florentines believed that because of the nature of the figure it represented, the statue soon came to symbolise the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence.

In 1873, the original statue was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, where it remains to this day, while a replica can still be found in the public square.

But it appears that what is good for Florentines is not safe for Glaswegians, after a restaurant in the city was forced to change its adverts featuring David after they were blocked due to nudity. Original designs commissioned by the Italian restaurant Barolo were rejected from advertising spaces in Glasgow’s Subway over modesty concerns.

READ MORE: Glasgow subway adverts with Michelangelo's David banned over nudity

Featuring the phrase, “It doesn’t get more Italian”, the poster showed David holding a slice of pizza.

Despite being considered one of the most recognisable statues in the world, advertising giant Global, which runs the marketing space, rejected the poster showing David cropped at the knees.


The advert rejected over nudity

The restaurant then suggested stickers of the Italian flag were used to cover the figure’s modesty but these were then deemed too small and the design wasn’t approved.

A full reprint of the adverts with the sculpture cropped at the waist was then required for the posters to be displayed on the subway.

Mario Gizzi, director of the DRG Group, which runs Barolo and several other restaurants in Scotland, said they were “bemused” upon hearing the decision.

He said: “This is a globally recognised piece of art. It is taught in schools. People from all over the world travel to see it. It’s not the 1500s anymore, it’s 2023.

“Are we really saying that the people of Glasgow can’t handle seeing a naked statue?”

It’s a very fair point although you really need to be extremely high-brow to have David pop into your head when you’re asked what is the most Italian thing ever.

What this situation shows is we are now in the midst of a weird, sanitised world where everything cultural is either being changed or banned altogether.

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There seems to be no place for alternative thinking and certainly no tolerance whatsoever for ancient cultural masterpieces, whether it is literature or in the visual arts.

Heaven forbid that these people ever get to hear about the Roman statue, Venus De Milo, a masterpiece which would cause heart palpitations on two different levels.

Firstly, of course she is naked and, secondly, she has lost both her arms beneath the elbows so, not only is she objectified, she is disablist, too. They must go through some amount of smelling salts at the Louvre in Paris when visitors encounter her on the way up the stairs. Anyone who has ever travelled on the Glasgow subway late at night at the weekend knows that far worse goes on than the sight of a well-endowed marble statue.

Sadly, people appear to be too stupid to differentiate between art and real life now. Even a blind man can see that David is not a real man – he is a statue – and a very fine one at that.

The naked human form has been captured by artists for millennia and enjoyed by millions of people ever since for what it is – a thing of beauty created by master technicians in their crafts.

Too many people view the world through the narrowest of parameters and will not tolerate anything that deviates from their idyll – regardless how fanciful it may be.

Before you check the date, this is indeed 2023, a full 60 years after the swinging 60s were supposed to herald a new age of love, tolerance and enlightenment.