Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Censorship, Italian Style


I learned the reason the Capitoline Museum was closed yesterday was because the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was the guest of honor. The news that Italian diplomats ordered the nude statues and paintings covered to avoid offending or embarrassing their guest was outrageous. I visited the Capitoline Museum today and admired the depictions of the human body, painted and sculpted, robed and disrobed. I felt a tinge of disgust considering the poor judgment that went into the Italians censoring their own national treasures. Who made that decision anyway and where’s their Italian pride? I’m not even Italian and I feel insulted. I am fairly accustomed to being a guest in foreign countries and I have never expected any of my hosts to cover up their cultural heritage to meet my demands.

At the Vatican today I learned that Michelangelo was censored after his death. In The Last Judgment, Daniele da Volterra was hired to defile Michelangelo’s work by covering up genitals and bottoms with cloth and fig leaves. Some religious fanatics just have a hard time dealing with the fact that we all come into this world with no clothes on. In The Last Judgment, people are shown either going up to heaven or being damned to hell, so it’s a little bit too late for them to be modest, in my opinion. They don’t need clothes where they’re going, so why bother. The only nude figures I spotted in The Last Judgment were down at the bottom, in the throes of agony, perhaps to show just how sinful they were.

People in power should know, especially from Italy’s history of religious oppression that the Catholic Church is infamous for, and the censoring of some of their greatest artists, that covering up nudes to please someone with religious hang-ups about the human body is NOT a good idea.

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