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Venus of the Rags, Contemporary art returns to Naples



Contemporary art returns to Naples: from Wednesday 28 March 2023, in the evocative setting of Piazza Municipio, an extraordinary season will open with an impressive installation, the Venus of Rags.

This work is the fruit of the genius of Michelangelo Pistoletto, a renowned Italian artist, who ranges in both painting and sculpture, and represents a fundamental point of reference within the Arte Povera artistic current.

The installation consists of a steel sculpture, a reproduction of the statue Venus with Apple by the Danish neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, flanked by a mountain of rags. Here, classical art forms clash with modern life’s disorder.

The Venus of Rags stands majestically, reaching a height of almost 10 metres, arousing admiration and reflection in all privileged enough to contemplate it.

As always, there is plenty of controversy, with some wondering whether the work is intended to suggest a representation of Naples living in urban decay and neglect rather than the enhancement of the urban fabric.

But that is precisely what art must do, suggest questions and put before the beholder many possible answers.

Not only the Venus, but there will also be several installations scattered throughout the streets of Naples, the intention being to involve different artists to redevelop the streets and neighbourhoods of the Campania capital. The works are part of the ‘Napoli Contemporanea‘ project, an initiative desired by mayor Gaetano Manfredi and curated by Vincenzo Trione, the mayor’s advisor for contemporary art and museums.

In addition to the majestic Venus of Rags, Antonio Marras‘s artistic work entitled ‘These Phantoms of Mine‘ was officially presented in the evocative spaces of Vicoletto San Pietro a Majella and the Rampe del Salvatore, thanks to the invaluable collaboration of the University of Naples Federico II, the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples and the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella. There will also be another art installation, by Gaetano Pesce, at the Rotonda Diaz, in a project realised in synergy with the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella and representing Pulcinella’s suit and an enormous red heart lit from within.

Even before the inauguration, this new artistic creation attracted enormous attention from visitors and onlookers, who rushed to the site to take selfies and observe the installation phases up close.

The inauguration, which took place on 28 June with the presence of the Mayor of Naples Gaetano Manfredi, was very moving and also saw the participation of the association ‘Le mani di Napoli’, which brings together the most important master craftsmen of Naples, who paid homage to Maestro Pistoletto with a cake in the shape of the work La Venere degli Stracci (Venus of rags).


La torta che l'associazione Le mani di Napoli ha donato al Maestro Pistoletto
A sweet surprise. The president, Giancarlo Maresca (right) e il vicepresident Damiano annunziato (left) with the cake given to the artist Pistoletto.
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