Bernini scarred bust

“The Scar” exhibition features Bernini bust

Culture News

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is hosting “The Scar” exhibition until 19th December.  The exhibition shows photos of women disfigured with acid by their exes, taken by Italian photographer Ilaria Sagaria, and a Bernini bust.

In the 17th century, architect and artist Bernini ordered his lover disfigured after she betrayed him with his own brother. Alongside photographs by Ilaria Sagari, the work is part of an exhibition that focuses on acid violence.

“Pain is not a privilege”

Sagaria’s work is named “Pain is not a privilege”. Sagaria said, “through these women’s testimony I reconstructed a tale that managed to bring back these moments of pain without making a spectacle of them”.

She said her photographs “focused on the psychological aspects and the concept of identity”.

“Acid violence is a global phenomenon that is not linked to ethnicity, religion; and even less to social and geographical position,” Sagaria commented in a press release. “Although cases have also been recorded against men, it remains a form of violence with a greater impact on women. In addition to the physical brutality caused by an inhumane act, there is psychological trauma to be faced: loss of identity, depression and isolation.”

Bernini’s act of violence

The bust of Roman noblewoman Costanza Piccolomini Bonarelli is on loan from the Bargello.

Bernini had her face slashed in a fit of jealousy after he discovered her relationship with his brother Luigi. Bernini did not pay for his actions; in fact the pope ordered him to marry. His lover Costanza, meanwhile, was punished with a four-month stay in a convent, as well as a scarred face.

“For the exhibition, the bust of Costanza Piccolomini Bonarelli underwent a restoration funded by the Uffizi Galleries. Now the work can be fully appreciated again thanks to this symbolic act of reparation against the damage of time,” the Uffizi director stated. “We look at it not only as a masterpiece by one of the greatest Baroque sculptors; but we are also invited to reflect on the brutal violence of the strong against the vulnerable.”

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