Curvy mermaid statue sparks outrage in Southern Italy

The controversial “Il Mare” sculpture in Piazza Rita Levi-Montalcini
The controversial “Il Mare” sculpture in Piazza Rita Levi-Montalcini Copyright Monopoli Times
By David Mouriquand
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The Floridian school board in the US recently ruled that Michelangelo’s 'David' was pornographic. By King Triton’s beard, they’d be having an aneurism with this new public artwork...


A rather voluptuous mermaid sculpture called 'Il Mare' ('The Sea') was installed in the small fishing town of Monopoli in Italy’s Puglia region, and it has been making waves for being “too provocative”.

The artwork sits in the Piazza Rita Levi-Montalcini - a Square named after the 1986 Nobel prize-winning Italian scientist honoured for her work in neurobiology and the discovery of the nerve growth factor.

The curvy sculpture was created by students from the Luigi Rosso art school in Monopoli, as part of several instalments in a series commissioned by the mayor for a town redevelopment project. Since its installation, it has been ridiculed on social media.

Several have deemed it “too provocative”, with one Twitter user asking: "Who could have inspired this? Kim Kardashian?"

Some were less fussed about the mermaid and saw it as an opportunity for the town to be put on the map. One Monopoli local saying on Twitter, "Monopoli in all the newspapers for a big-ass mermaid, that's us!"

Taking to Facebook, Bari-based actor Tiziana Schiavarelli said that a friend in Monopoli had "rightly expressed some perplexity about this 'monument'. It looks like a mermaid with two silicone breasts and, above all, a huge arse never seen before on a mermaid. At least not any I know".

Quite how many mermaids this person has rubbed fishtails with remains unknown.

Schiavarelli further stressed that she did not have an issue with the artwork but wrote that she was “very amused by this thing…”

“Who knows if it will become a further attraction for tourists," she added.

Monopoli Times
The “Il Mare” sculptureMonopoli Times

Meanwhile, Adolf Marciano, headteacher of the Luigi Rosso art school, stated that the statue was a "tribute to the great majority of women who are curvy".

Marciano told The Guardian that students came up with the idea for a mermaid statue after the mayor of Monopoli asked them to create several statues for the town, including one with a sea theme.

Marciano said he saw the work as a realistic representation of the female body.

“You see adverts on television with models who are very thin, but the mermaid is like a tribute to the great majority of women who are curvy, especially in our country. It would have been very bad if we had represented a woman who was extremely skinny.”

“It’s a shame as the art students deserve to be praised instead of criticized,” Marciano continued.

The statue has yet to be officially unveiled.

Additional sources • Guardian, Monopoli Times

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