Rob Picheta and Hada Messia, CNN
(CNN) – A statue meant to honor 19th-century Italian patriots has encountered backlash after its unveiling revealed a depiction of a woman in a form-fitting, off-the-shoulder dress.
Some politicians call this figure “offensive to women” and call for it to be deleted.
The resemblance depicts the narrator of Luigi Mercantini’s poem “The Gleaner of Sapri” – a field worker who recounts witnessing the massacre of young men fighting for the unification of Italy in 1857.
The statue was unveiled this weekend near the site of the historic event, Sapri, in southern Italy. The woman, looking over her shoulder, holds a hand on the front of her dress, which is low over her breasts. From the back, it’s pictured as tight against her body – no underwear visible – and some viewers interpreted it as a see-through dress.
Former Italian Senator Manuela Repetti wrote in a blog on HuffPost that she was “horrified” by the statue, asking: “Does it seem normal to portray a farm worker in this way?
Monica Cirinna, a senator for the center-left Democratic Party in Italy, called for the statue to be removed and viewed it as “a slap in the face of history and of women, who are still (treated as) bodies. sexualized “.
The mayor of Sapri, Antonio Gentile, defended the sculpture, which he said was “carried out with impeccable craftsmanship and interpretation” by artist Emanuele Stifano.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Gentile criticized Repetti’s article and said his city was “unwilling to question its values, principles and traditions.”
But Repetti wrote a response in which she argued that the figure does not accurately portray a 19th century peasant. “Yes, ‘art is art’, but there is always an appropriate context to respect,” she wrote.
The poem “The Gleaner of Sapri” is an important part of Italian culture and is studied in schools across the country. It describes the actual arrival in Sapri of insurgents who wanted to enlist the people in their efforts to overthrow the monarchy. But the locals, having been misled into believing that the Patriots were plundering the invaders, joined with the Neapolitan troops in slaughtering them.
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