Sculpture Shock: Photographer dresses up the Riaci Bronzes in thongs, feather boas… his shoot is suspended, he gets the boot


Italy’s cultural elite is up in arms again, this time because a photographer dressed the famous Italian bronze sculptures of two warriors in fluffy wedding veils, leopard thongs and pink feather boas.

Ok, so photographer Gerald Bruneau didn’t exactly tell museum officials that he was going to “do up” the warriors in fluffy pink boas, but he had been given permission to shoot the bronzes in the Reggio Calabria museum which houses them. He had previously done a photoshoot at the Galleria Borghese in Rome, which apparently did feature a work of Paolina dolled-up in a red cloth, but this did not seem to have been found distasteful by the museum officials.

As soon as staff noticed the “art direction” of the shoot they intervened and stopped the shoot… museum officials were not amused. The incident has caused much debate – some have seen this as a general inability of local institutions to care for the works in their collection, some have even called this a conspiracy to besmirch the Reggio Calabria Museum… a local politician has called for a formal investigation of the affair.

The bronzes were discovered off the coast of Calabria, in southern Italy, in 1972. They have only recently been exhibited after years of restoration attempts and political back and forth between various arts institutions who fought for the right to exhibit the 5th C BCE statues.

Dagospia, an Italian website has just published some of the offending photos – the photo above is from their site – the photos are kind of silly and fun, and definitely a totally contextual riff on the cult of the nude warrior, you can see more of Bruneau’s photos, on the Dagospia website, linked here.


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