Italian Police Have Arrested a Man Suspected of Burning Down a Prized Arte Povera Installation in Naples


Italian police have arrested a man believed to have burned down Michelangelo Pistoletto’s installation in Naples.

The suspect was identified as a 32-year-old homeless man by CNN. According to the , he was traced to a soup kitchen after investigators reviewed security footage. Artnet News has reached out to police in Italy for further information but did not hear back by press time.

The work juxtaposes a statue of the Roman goddess Venus with a pile of rags and is meant to provide commentary on consumerism and the degradation of society.

The installation was first created in 1967 and several versions of it are on display in museums around the world but the new, massive version of it had just been inaugurated two weeks ago in Naples’ Piazza del Municipio in the center of the city.

venus of the rags arson naples

The installation titled “Venus of the Rags” by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto is pictured burning after a suspected arson attack in Naples. Photo courtesy of ANSA/AFP/Getty Images

The fire tore through the rags that make up part of the structure and melted the polyurethane statue of Venus and left behind just the metal frame.

Enza Amato, the president of Naples’ municipal council, said in a statement translated from Italian that “setting fire to a work of art is a very serious act that must be strongly condemned.”

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