A five metre replica of Michelangelo’s David stood proudly in the courtyard of the Burnie Regional Art Gallery in 2016.
But today the $10,000 sculpture lies in ruin, split into sections that are slowly decaying inside a shipping container.
The Renaissance replica is now destined for the scrap heap after a Burnie City Council report found it could cost up to $20,000 to restore the artwork.
The cost is largely due to the need to transport the sculpture to Melbourne as there’s “no conservator in Tasmania who would consider repairing the sculpture”.
“We believe the sculpture is damaged beyond repair and the conservator would not be willing to repair (it) once the sculpture arrives in Melbourne,” the council report read.
The sculpture was created for a Michelangelo exhibition at Burnie Regional Art Gallery and funded almost entirely by donations from the community.
But the plaster of Paris statue began to decay before the exhibition had even closed because it had absorbed moisture.
The sculpture hadn’t been weather-proofed despite the fact it was placed outside.
Burnie mayor Steve Kons wasn’t too concerned about the fate of the David replica, especially as it was “not the real thing”.
“It was a promotional aspect of an event that turned a significant profit for the art gallery,” he said.
The exhibition attracted 8700 visitors and while it only broke even from tickets, it helped the art gallery finished the 2015/16 financial year $14,400 in the black.
Cr Kons said the Michelangelo exhibition was such a “roaring success” that Burnie City Council was able to donate $7250 to the Friends of the Gallery group.
But Burnie councillor Ken Dorsey said what had happened to the David sculpture was “an unmitigated disaster”.
Cr Dorsey said the council might be able salvage the situation by selling parts of the the sculpture or donating them to a community group.
“Someone might want it,” he said. “I’m tempted to buy it myself and just stuck it up there on my property.”