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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Michelangelo's David Not Perfect After All




LONDON -- Michelangelo's David, the towering sculpture acclaimed for its depiction of male beauty, is not so perfect after all. He squints.


Laser images of David's face taken by computer scientist Marc Levoy of Stanford University in California show he is not looking out into the distance but is squinting.


"The gaze directions of his eyes actually diverge," Levoy told New Scientist magazine on Wednesday.


In one view the statue is looking slightly to the left but from the left profile he appears to be staring straight ahead.


"It's a typical Michelangelo trick. He optimized each eye for its appearance as seen from the side," Levoy added.


The flaw in the 5.2 meter statue is not visible to the admiring public in its current home on a 1.8 meter tall pedestal in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy.


Levoy, who spent a sabbatical making computerized images of Italian sculpture, took the images by pointing a scanner directly at David's face. He recorded the shape of the beam as it swept across the surface of the statue.