Sandro Botticelli’s iconic Venus has been turned into an influencer for the Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT). Unveiled last week, the use of the image has received mixed reactions.
The female protagonist of Sandro Botticelli’s iconic Birth of Venus is the face of the latest campaign to promote tourism in Italy, unveiled by Tourism Minister Daniela Santanché last Thursday (20th April).
The goddess Venus is seen in the Renaissance painting arriving on land on a giant scallop shell. In the posters, social media and video campaign she is eating pizza on Lake Como, holding a bicycle in front of Rome’s Colosseum, and taking a selfie in Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Essentially, she is to be seen at key tourist locations.
The Open to meraviglia (Open to wonder) campaign costs €9 million. It will be rolled out in all major consolidated and high potential markets. If you want to follow the ‘modern’ Venus, you can use the hashtag #italiaopentomeraviglia on Instagram.
Derision of Venus as a digital influencer
The advertising campaign by Turin-based advertising giant Armando Testa has been derided due to the use of stock images, poor translations and superficiality.
The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, did not hold back when criticising the campaign, “Botticelli’s Venus is unique. It’s one of the symbols of Italian beauty and bears witness to the greatness of the Florentine Renaissance. I believe that dressing her in a t-shirt while eating pizza to publicise Italy in the world is an unhappy and unfair choice for our culture.”
The Uffizi in Florence which houses the masterpiece has not made a public comment on the campaign. It was only last year the Uffizi gallery sued Jean-Paul Gaultier over his unauthorised use of Venus on his clothing. Perhaps they’re wishing he’d been in charge of the latest authorised use of Botticelli’s Venus.