Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Michelangelo's unfinished sculpture sentenced to a stint in prison.

The noted Italian artist worked on "La Pieta Rondanini" from 1552 until his death in 1564.

An unfinished sculpture by Michelangelo is heading to an unlikely temporary location -- prison.

It's not because the sculpture offended any puritanical sensibilities. It's because the Milanese city government thinks it will have a positive effect on the prisoners 

According to the Art Newspaper, the decision is backed by the Milan city government and culture minister Stefano Boerir.

Others differ. The unconventional placement faces some serious criticism from Italian art historians such as Vittorio Sgarbi. "Nobody moves Michelangelo’s David from the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence; nobody moves his Madonna and Child from Bruges," he wrote in the newspaper il Giornale, adding that fewer people will be able to view the sculpture once it is moved to the center of the 19th century jail.

In response, proponents of the move have plenty to say about the power of art in "outsider" communities. "This is what art is about," remarked Tim Robertson, chief executive of the London-based prison arts charity, Koestler Trust, to The Art Newspaper. "And the most useful art should be for people who are falling off the edge of society.”

As of yet, the Milanese prison has not announced any specific arts program associated with sculpture. The Pieta will head back to its home at the Castello Sforzesco once renovations are complete. 

So far, there is also no information on what security measures will be taken to protect the priceless sculpture. Italy has a very high rate of art theft. Supposedly well guarded art has been stolen in broad daylight. 

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