Mr. Big Head


This blog entry about the events of Monday, July 19, 2004 was originally posted on July 25, 2004.

DAY 275:  Florence holds one of the world’s most famous sculptures, Michelangelo’s David, which one art critic hailed, “Nor has there ever been seen a pose so fluent, or a gracefulness equal to this, or feet, hands and head so well related to each other with quality, skill and design.”  I don’t know what that guy was talking about; all I focused on was how disproportionately big Dave’s head was.

David stands tall — and totally nude — in the Accademia museum, which, needless to say, attracts long lines of tourists and art lovers to its entrance.  Waiting on line can take up to four hours, but the way to circumvent this is to call ahead for a reservation.  I did this the day before and for just a three euro charge I skipped passed the hundreds waiting outside under the hot Tuscan sun to be amongst the hundreds inside the museum (picture above, found off the internet since the “No Pictures” rule was strictly enforced; photo credit: Robert Burke) marveling at the sublime nature of David and his enormously big head.  Seriously, if David was in grammar school in America, do you know how brutally teased by his peers he would be?  Never mind that he defeated the giant Goliath, just look at the size of his noggin!

“Hey Dave, your head is so big that when you walk by the sun, there’s a solar eclipse.”

“Hey Big Head, move out the way, I can’t see the screen.”

“Why don’t you take your lips off and shut up, Mr. Potato Head.”

You can imagine how much of target he’d be in a game of dodge ball.

In all seriousness, David did have a big head, sculpted that way purposely as Michelangelo intended it to be viewed from a disproportionate vantage point just beneath it.  David has been revered since its creation, serving as a symbol of Florentine pride — his pose emphasizes his defeat over Goliath not by brutal force, but by graceful intellect and cunning. 

Damn, his head is huge!

While the original David stands proudly in the Accademia museum, replicas of him have been made and appear in other places in Florence.  A replica is in the Piazza Michelangelo, as well as another outside the Palazzo Vecchio protected for a renovation project.  The replicas also have enormous noggins.

THE REST OF THE DAY I wandered around Florence before my night train that evening.  I wandered down its quiet streets, passed the Santa Croce church, the synagogue, the reflections in the Arno River (HiRes, 1632x1224), the Renaissance-styled courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio and the other statues in the Piazza della Signoria.

With time to kill I waited the two hours to get into the Uffizi gallery whose insides hold Botticelli’s famous Nascita di Venere, known more popularly in English as Birth of Venus.  (The “No Pictures” rule wasn’t as strictly enforced as in the Accademia, although it didn’t matter because the paintings had highly reflective glass over them.  I’m sure better photos are on the internet somewhere.)  Outside the Uffizi Gallery where the (normal size-headed) statues of Florence’s historical heroes like Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo.  Raphael, the other namesake of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was nowhere to be seen, possibly under cover for a renovation project.

After a slice of pizza and some homemade gelati at Vivoli’s — who I think rightfully claim having the best ice cream in the world — I was off on my train to Germany, working on the top bunk of my couchette cabin.  I left Florence with memories of seeing David himself, big head and all — although some souvenir-makers emphasized another big part of David instead.

Next entry: Overcoming Dysfunctions

Previous entry: Memories of Tuscany

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Comments for “Mr. Big Head”

  • Primero! Como estas Erik, y donde estas? Did you ever make it here to Amsterdam?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  02:27 AM

  • Those shorts sure beat the t-shirt with a tuxedo printed on it!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  03:18 AM

  • Jan - you want a pair as a souvenir?  LOL

    Posted by Liz  on  07/25  at  04:42 AM

  • Liz - I just want to see someone wearing a pair! But thanks for the offer.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  05:21 AM

  • Liz… you think we can arrange that for Janice?? You visit, buy, ship back and I will look after the rest!!!
    Great Pic Erik….thanks from the women!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  05:59 AM

  • Erik - one of the flavors of gelato was “Pesca” - please tell me that’s NOT fish… I should know that, I know, from my one year of Italian class, but I thought I’d ask you… fun pictures, thanks again!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  09:27 AM

  • great pics.

    Seeing “Mr. Big Head” was one of my great highlights during our trip 2 years ago. Nice to see he still has a Big Head.

    btw, did you know Michelangelo, Galileo Gaililei and among other superstars are buried in Santa Croce?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  05:59 PM

  • great file name….and thanks for another hires pic!  although it won’t replace my current desktop…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  06:52 PM

  • No, thankfully it’s Peach—not fish.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  09:04 PM

  • LOVEPENNY:  Most of Florence (most of Europe for that matter) is under renovation; Saint Croce’s picture here is cropped, the other part is all scaffolding…  Didn’t go in and see the crypt.  Oh well…

    As for the missing Ninja Turtle… was he in that plaza at Uffizi?  There were three sculptures of Florentine heros totally covered for renovation; I assumed Raphael was one of them…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  10:39 PM

  • DOES ANYONE have any other big head jokes they’d like to share?  I’m sure I’m missing some real good ones…

    FOR THE RECORD, the rest of David’s body I was more impressed with than I actually thought I’d be…  Michelangelo included every detail, from veins to the skin wrinkles in bent fingers and toes.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  10:41 PM

  • I have a big head joke….but only wheat, francis, and you would get it…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/25  at  11:05 PM

  • Thanks for the FYI Christy - you’re right: thank goodness!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/26  at  09:29 AM

  • well, glad to see that michaelanglo was thinking about the right head when he wanted something big…. =P and i guess they are wrong when they talk about a guy with big hands and feet…...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/26  at  05:55 PM

  • It doesn’t look that big to me.  lol
    He just needs a hair cut.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/26  at  08:23 PM

  • Erik everyone at work thought that picture of Davids crotch on the shorts was absolutelty disgusting and hilarious.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/27  at  12:29 AM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Next entry:
Overcoming Dysfunctions

Previous entry:
Memories of Tuscany


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