RA Collection: People and Organisations Born in 1475 in the Republic of Florence, the Italian artist Michelangelo was long celebrated as the greatest practitioner of the three visual arts of sculpture, painting and architecture.He was also a respected poet, although in spite of his various achievements the artist considered himself primarily as a sculptor.
In this work, the traditionally rendered marble Venus pays homage to the rich cultural history of ancient Roman culture.
The rags, in contrast, are commonplace, many of them having been used by the artist himself while working in his studio.
He did this while re-activating viewers experiences with art objects in order, as he later stated about his work, "to give a part of myself to those who wish to give a part of themselves." That is, he sought to make a more dynamic, shared exchange between artists and audience.
Tre ragazze alla balconata (Three Girls on a Balcony) is one of a series of paintings on reflective materials that artist Michelangelo Pistoletto began working with starting in 1961.
Pistoletto's introduction of unusual materials as components in his sculptures, installations and paintings is meant to excite active participation by viewers not only with art but with one another and the world around them by bringing art into life, and life into art.
He accomplished this whether through incorporating a viewer's own shifting image into a painting, or by engaging their own ideas, or physical or social interactions to become part of the works of art.
Much about the work, including the furniture and even the title referencing a meal, begs for the viewer to use the object.
And yet that capacity for use is withheld in the way in which the piece is presented - which is neither flat like a painted representation of a table and chairs, nor as fully three dimensional and free-standing as a functional version of those furniture items might be.
Challenging notions of what is or could be art, this work and the Minus Objects are considered fundamental to the Arte Povera movement and would become one of Pistoletto's most important bodies of work.
Wood - Collection of Walker Art Center Venus of the Rags, Pistoletto's iconic large-scale sculpture, consists of a classically rendered figure of the goddess Venus staring into a colorful mound of rags and discarded clothing.