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Claudio Parmiggiani

Venere di Montreal [Venus of Montreal]


Claudio Parmiggiani
Born in Lussara, Italy, in 1943


Venere di Montreal [Venus of Montreal]




Plaster, butterfly


71.5 x 27.5 x 32 cm


Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2005.4.1-2


International Contemporary Art

The ultimate aesthetic canon, a favourite subject of classical statuary since the Renaissance, in the twentieth century the figure of Venus is the symbol of what has become a problematic relationship between art and beauty. Many artists (including Salvatore Dali, Yves Klein, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jim Dine) have subjected it to changes that are equally manifestoes. The Venus of Montreal, renamed thus by the artist following the Museum’s purchase of the work, is a typical example of his work. By pinning the red butterfly, an ancient symbol of the soul, on the pudenda of the famous Aphrodite of Cnidus, Parmiggiani seeks to create “visions,” “dreams” and “mental images” that should be “looked at with closed eyes.” By superimposing two symbols of beauty – the timeless classical sculpture and the ephemeral butterfly – he links the fine arts to the natural order.

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