Público 07, Florencia 2004 | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

In 2004, Franca Falletti, director of the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, invited Thomas Struth and other artists to realize an artwork as an homage to Michelangelo’s David on the occasion of the sculpture’s 500th anniversary. Struth’s response was a departure from his approach with his Museum Photographs: he exclusively photographed the gallery’s visitors as they contemplated the sculpture. Although he situated himself in its immediate vicinity, he did not include David in his pictures. This shift in perspective places the focus on the audience and their reactions to the celebrated work of art, attesting to the sculpture’s timeless aesthetic power and demonstrating that its enduring effect on the viewer is lessened not at all by its countless reproductions. Struth continued this project with a series of works based on close-ups of people looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s Benois Madonna at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.