The world is laughing at the Italians

“The genitalia exhibited offend the President of Iran. The Capitoline Museum has taken countermeasures.”
“I think it’s their Prime”, the interpreter suggests to Rohani

…because in the Capitoline Museums they covered up with various screens the naked statues, so they do not offend the sensitivity of the Iranians. (Italy, of course, has a long tradition of doing so. Not by accident Michelangelo’s apprentice, Daniele da Volterra is known among art historians as “Braghattone”, “the great underwear painter”, for having carefully painted panties and bras on all the scantily clad figures in the Sistine Chapel, just a few months after the death of his master.) They of course maximally offend thereby the sensitivity of the Iranians who consider the Italian gesture the betrayal of their efforts against the forced Islamization viscerally hated by them.

“Due to the large volume of Italian trade with Iran, it wouldn't have been surprising if Italians broke the statues all together”

– write some Twitter users in Iran, while others illustrate – how could it be differently, with the absolutely avantgarde Iranian design! – how it could have been done in a much more elegant way.

The last picture is to be interpreted “in Iranian”. The Italian boxes are here recovered with the website which greets you when you click on sites forbidden in Iran, like the Western blogs, for example río Wang. Just as it happens to me, when I forget to launch the small program psiphon necessary to step over the filter, which must be downloaded before you go to Iran. This site offers you “positive” websites in thematic blocks, and after a minute they broadcast beautiful and soothing photos representing the highest level of professional Iranian photography, with a soft music, so you do really forget what you wanted. They understand psychology, don’t they.

But the most elegant it would have been so, as the Iranians present their nudes.

Shah Abbas’ garden (Bagh-e Fin), Kashan, 1603. Photo by Kati Rizmayer from our last Iranian tour

Boroujerdi merchant house, Kashan, late 19th c. Photo by Kati Rizmayer from our last Iranian tour

Golestan Palace, Tehran. The Shah’s Palace, mid-19th-c.

Shah Abbas’ garden, the Boroujerdi merchant house, the Golestan Palace. All three World Heritage Sites. In the Iranian culture they represent nothing less than the Capitoline Museums in the European one. Millions of Iranian tourists visit them annually (Europeans rarely). Including mullahs, and even tours organized for mullahs. None of them have ever protested against the breasts of Shirin in Fin Garden, or the tight thighs of the Golestan lady. In the Golestan Palace I watched the fresco together with two mullahs, who were affected very little by the charms of the lady. They must have seen things like that. Instead, they were passionately interested in the cheap Tehran-Berlin flight tickets.

When we go to Iran, the women have to take a shawl upon them. We do not like it, just like the majority of Iranian middle-class women, but we accept it as the expectation of the current mainstream of Iran’s culture. In Europe in recent centuries a different kind of relationship evolved toward the representation of the naked body, and we expect our visitors to acknowledge it. Especially if – as it is shown by the above examples and the current Iranian relationship to them – it is not so different from the Iranian one. We should not to succumb to a non-existent expectation. Let us not be more Islamic than the mullahs.

3 comentarios:

Studiolum dijo...

Italians have a great sense of humor though. This post was shared in the Italian twitter with the Leitmotiv: “Il dono italico: far ridere il mondo” (The mission of the Italians: to make the world laugh!”)

MOCKBA dijo...

Couldn't resist sharing my namesake city's disappearing-genitals legend. When a monument to Moscow founder, prince Yuri, has been commissioned, he was depicted riding a mare. A reviewer suggested a change to a stallion. Another high-placed reviewer ordered the genitals removed, though. Ten the historians chimed in, explaining that a Russian prince would have considered it demeaning to ride a gelding. So the genitals were re-cast and re-attached, you can see them up close here

(The authorities had to demolish my grandfather's home to make room for this grand monument - perhaps I'll touch on this story in another post)

Studiolum dijo...

Great! You should definitely elaborate it into a post, even if it’s perhaps just an urban legend :) But, together with the non-urban-legend demolition of your grandfather’s house, it is firmly rooted in Soviet reality.