In a glass case in the centre of Rome appears to lie the corpse of former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Even in death he wears a smile, a bespoke suit and rather surprisingly a pair of Mickey Mouse slippers.
The body is in fact a waxwork, the latest provocative piece by Italian artists Antonio Garullo et Mario Ottocento, which they have entitled, ‘The dream of all Italians’. It has been installed on the second floor of the Ferrajoli Palace, directly opposite the Palazzo Chigi, the Italian seat of government.
Known for his sexual escapades, the former Italian premier lies in a perfect midnight blue suit, but with a scruffy shirt, a tie in disarray, and one hand down his unbuttoned trousers.
His other hand rests upon a copy of ‘The Italian History’, a pamphlet he sent to millions of his countrymen during an election campaign. While the artists explain the Mickey Mouse slippers are there to honour the showbusiness side of the politician.
The artists, known in Italy for being the first gay couple to marry in 2002, said they chose to display Berlusconi in this way as a representation of the way people saw him during his last years in power.
They thought a glass case would be an ironic resting place as they said: “Normally in the Christian tradition this is reserved for the preservation of saints, and also from a secular perspective, for the bodies of powerful heroes like Mao or Lenin.”
The former prime minister, still very much alive at 75, stood down last November after failing to come up with credible solutions to the sovereign debt crisis.
Just before leaving office his reputation was marred by constant revelations about his private life, including his now infamous “bunga bunga” parties. He also remains embroiled in a high-profile court case after being accused of paying for sex in February 2010 with underage Karima El Mahroug, – also known as Ruby – when she was 17-years-old.