I’m entering the Great Piazza della Signoria, Florence Italy, thousands of tourists do the same thing every day. All admiring the impressive buildings, the lively square and the splendid sculptures. I have visited the piazza many times, but today I see things differently.
Maybe I’m getting deformed by my writings about eroticism, maybe I’m just a pervert… could easily be a mixture of both.
Today I see the Piazza as a celebration of the naked body, mainly males, but some female nudity is shown as well, here and there. People stand around the fountain of the God Neptune, taking pictures, eating their slices of pizza, perfectly comfortable with the naked guy watching over them. They sit in front of Giambologna’s sculpture called “The Rape of the Sabines” where a naked woman is captured by a muscle hunk of 4 meters tall. And let’s not forget the famous David, from the master of muscles, Michelangelo, ok it’s not the original, but he’s standing there guarding the crowd anyway, showing his wares without any shame.
It seems to me that no one experiences the sudden nudity at the Piazza as abnormal, or even a little odd. They consume it as historical artworks, wasn’t that normal? Weren’t they supposed to be naked? Somehow, I feel people don’t even think about it that much, and they adapt to the nudity, in the context of the Piazza.
But imagine yourself being a citizen of Florence roughly 500 years ago, and the statue of the Neptune, or David was shown at the Piazza for the first time. That must have been a shocking experience, right? I know that these sculptures come from Renaissance masters that were inspired by the classic era, and that they embraced the cult of the naked body for artistic purposes. But not all people were enlightened Uomo Universales, most people were brave Catholics still having medieval dogma’s. I can hardly imagine them adapt to all this nakedness that easily, like we modern, western people do now.