martes, 25 de septiembre de 2012


Marilyn Monroe as Fine Art
FLORENCE — The pump is beige suede, size 61/2, with a high stiletto heel. Inside the shoe, the faint marks of toes and heel have begun to fade out the words: “Creations Salvatore Ferragamo Florence, Italy.” These shoes — and the 30 other identically shaped pairs — helped raise Marilyn Monroe  to iconic status.
She wore them as she sang her heart out to U.S. soldiers in Korea in 1954, danced through a decade of movies, and wiggled and sang in that breathy, sultry voice “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy in 1962, her last year of life.

Yet “Marilyn” at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo (until Jan. 28) does more than tell through a gallery of photographs, movie clips, curvy clothes and sexy shoes a 50th anniversary story of fame and pain. It dares, in this ancient Renaissance city, to connect the blond bombshell with fine art.

An image of Marilyn, photographed by Bert Stern during what became known after her death as “the last sitting,” lies, with her curvy, half-naked body, beside an 18th-century chalk drawing of a sensual nude by François Boucher. In front of the images is a marble “sleeping nymph” sculpture from 1820.

It might seem a stretch to compare Marilyn, with tendrils of hair blowing on a breezy beach, to Sandro Botticelli’s famous “The Birth of Venus” from 1484. And can the icon of Pop Art really be compared to paintings marked “after Leonardo da Vinci,” loaned from the Uffizi Gallery of Florence?

Yet there is something touching about seeing the star not as a movie diva, interpreted by contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, but as an eternal beauty. The curators Stefania Ricci and Sergio Risaliti have achieved the unexpected, a fresh take on a woman who once said these wistful words:
 “I want to be an artist, not a pin-up. I don’t want to be sold to the public like a celluloid aphrodisiac.”

Published: June 22, 2012

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