martedì 28 febbraio 2012

THE Yemeni Pietà - What do the Pietà of Michelangelo and the photo that won the World Press Photo 2012 have in common?

By now everyone knows. On February 10, were announced the winners of World Press Photo 2012, the 55th edition of the contest of photojournalism best known to the world. Here it is, the winning photograph, taken by the Catalan Samuel Aranda in Yemen for the New York Times, in a mosque set up a field hospital in the capital Sana'a.

All the blogs, articles and reviews on the subject think so: this shot is reminiscent of the Pietà by Michelangelo. Globalization makes
almost unimaginable things happen: a Spanish photojournalist has made in Yemen a strongly Catholic Western iconographic imagery, photographing a Muslim woman fully covered by the burqa holding the broken body of a young revolutionary Arab Spring .But this image highly representative of our age, this Pieta 2012, what really has in common with the original Pieta? With the one carved in marble by Michelangelo Buonarroti?
Photo by Samuel Aranda. Photos of the winning World Press Photo 2012.

It took three years to create the 'original' Pieta, from 1497 to 1499 [Source Wikipedia]. The marble for this work came from Carrara. It was a work order, the price was agreed for the sum of 450 ducats. The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding the lifeless body of his son Jesus.

First, the point of view of both the authors, Aranda and Michelangelo, is the front with respect to the subjects.
It 's ironic that the women carved 500 years ago has the face and neck uncovered, that the shape of her breasts
is perceptible under her dress and she shows strong anatomical details, in contrast to the Yemeni woman of today who keeps his face hidden and whole body under a thick black cloth.
Pieta by Michelangelo

The folds of the robe of the Virgin Mary sculpted are very abundant and are designed to bring out by contrast the beauty of the naked body of Christ. Even in the Yemeni Pieta woman's dress seems to be done to highlight the nudity of the boy.

The carved lady is represented very young to symbolize she is immaculate and uncorrupted by any sin. To those who pointed out the extreme youth of the Virgin, Michelangelo explained "that chaste women remain much cooler that the unchaste."

Finally, note that the Christian lady observes the dying Jesus, just holding it, letting his body almost slipping on his knees while the Muslim woman, immortalized in fact, embraces the body of the boy holding it by the neck and wrist, listening his complaint holding his head on his shoulder, consoling.

Both works, although they represent a very sad scene, don't cry of pain, thet aren't heartbreaking, they are mute, motionless, calm, resigned.

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