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Italy: Bronze statue of scantily clad woman sparks sexism controversy | Italy




A statue of a scantily clad woman from a 19th-century poem has sparked a sexism feud in Italy.

The bronze statue, which represents the woman in a transparent dress, was unveiled on Saturday during a ceremony in the presence of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Sapri, in the southern region of Campania.

The work of sculptor Emanuele Stifano is a tribute to Sapri’s Gleaner (The Gleaner of Sapri), written by the poet Luigi Mercantini in 1857. The poem is based on the story of a failed expedition against the kingdom of Naples by Carlo Pisacane, one of the first Italian socialist thinkers.

Laura Boldrini, a member of the center-left Democratic Party, said the statue was an offense to women and the history she should celebrate. She wrote on Twitter: But how can even institutions accept the portrayal of a woman as a sexualized body?

A group of women politicians from the Unity of Democratic Parties in Palermo demanded that the statue be toppled. Once again, we must endure the humiliation of seeing ourselves portrayed as a sexualized body, devoid of soul and unconnected with the social and political issues of the story, the group said in a statement.

They argued that the statue did not reflect anything about the anti-Bourbon revolution or the self-determination of a woman who chooses not to go to work to take sides against the oppressor.

Stifano defended his work, writing on Facebook that if it had been up to him, the statue would have been completely naked simply because I am a lover of the human body. He said there was no point in trying to explain works of art to those who absolutely want to see depravity.

Antonio Gentile, the mayor of Sapri, said that until the feud broke out, no one had criticized or distorted the artwork.

In photos of the ceremony, Conte, now head of the Five Star Movement, looked puzzled as he gazed at the statue, surrounded by a predominantly male entourage.




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