One of Italy’s contemporary artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto,’s most famous works were destroyed in a suspected arson incident in Naples.
The installation, Venere degli stracci (“Venus of the rags”), consists of a statue of the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility standing next to a pile of colorful clothes. Authorities said on Wednesday that it was destroyed in a fire next to the city hall in the southern Italian city.
Gaetano Manfredi, mayor of Naples, said the fire in the early hours of the morning was “a violent act that leaves us speechless”. He promised that the installation will be rebuilt again.
Pistoletto is “embittered and hurt” by the “vandalism”, Manfredi said, but adds that the fire “can be interpreted by us as a chance for a new beginning”.
There are several versions of the Venere degli stracci which was first created in 1967. It juxtaposes the iconic figure of classical culture and beauty alongside the relics of contemporary society.
Pistoletto (90) is a central figure in Italy’s Arte Povera movement and his works have been exhibited worldwide, including London, New York and Paris.