Of intense beauty and great energy: this is how the great baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo saw Bernini the beloved Costanza four centuries ago, but only a few months after making her bust, he disfigured her out of jealousy.
To celebrate the international day for the elimination of violence against women, the Uffizi Gallery has decided to narrate the stories of battered women through sculptures and images because art can serve to recall the past and give us the means to change the future.
Eike D. Schmidt is the director of the Uffizi Gallery and indicates: “It is to make people aware of something that would only have been seen as criminal news broadcast by newspapers, radio or television. Here you can see the extreme beauty and women’s energy and also this attack on the life and identity of women “.
In the seventeenth century it was a knife, today it is acid, but the objective remains the same: the face, identity and freedom of women.
Costanza was disfigured by the artist because the love was not reciprocal. He also commissioned one of his servants to do it. Almost four centuries have passed since then and only a few things have changed, but the essence remains the same: men consider women and their bodies their property.
Elena Baragli is president of the Artemisia anti-violence center and points out: _ “An episode that is described by Bernini as great love, but we have to unmask this narrative, according to which the intensity of love leads to violence. We still continue like this, because the patriarchal culture remains deeply rooted “._
103 anti-violence centers across Italy help more than 20,000 women a year, fleeing the gender violence and abuse, giving them protection and refuge and offering them a path to autonomy and freedom. But before that, it is necessary to facilitate women take the first step.
Petra Filistrucchi is vice president of the Artemisia anti-violence center and points out: “It is difficult to talk about it, it is difficult to even mention it when you live within a violent and chronic dynamic. Because it is difficult to recognize violent acts. You think that being controlled and accountable It is natural”.
Culture also plays a fundamental role. Since there is still an oppressive and sexist environment that influences the lives and freedom of women women four centuries after Costanza’s beauty was ruined by the violence of a man.