There was a lot of local uproar over Mitt Romney’s recent rally at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Questions raised included a possible violation of the institution’s tax-exempt status by hosting a political event – a big IRS no-no – and whether the state-owned facility broke its own rule: ““No fundraising, political or revenue generating activities allowed by parties other than the Ringling Museum of Art.”
Given all the hullaballoo, you’d think the museum alone goofed. But there was another goof – Romney’s. If he still wants the female vote, he came to the wrong place. You might say the war on women is plain to see here beginning with a statue out front.
Talk about affronts, what you see is a life-size bronze sculpture of a nude woman lying flat on her back and roped to the wild animal. You can’t miss it. Called “Lygia and the Bull” by Gioseppe Moretti, it faces you as you enter the building.
And that’s just the insult on the outside of the museum. Inside are a slew of assaults on women, like “Cephalus Grieving Over the Dying Procris” painted by Abraham Janssens. Just think of the naked woman roped to the back of the rearing bull, take away the bull, and you’ve got the idea of what the dying Procris looks like: yet another nude woman lying helpless on her back.
Like the sculpture, the painting is supposed to illustrate a myth of old, but by the look of “Cephalus Grieving Over the Dying Procris,” the myth was an excuse for Janssens to pin a woman down. Unless he thought that a woman stabbed to death would show open delight at the thought, her sexual excitement mounting clearly within her dying body. How else to explain her very noticeable and very erect nipples? In fact, if you didn’t know the legend, the shuddering sight that you imagine coming from the dying Procris would seem to come from a woman in ecstasy. She even holds the spear that pierces her tenderly, as if she takes pleasure in being penetrated by it – blood dripping down into her darkened crotch notwithstanding.
Then there’s the museum’s “Perseus and Andromeda” by Cavaliero d’Arpino, which describes – yep, you guessed it – another nailed-down naked woman, this time chained to a rock and attacked by wild animals. These effigies of powerlessness, http://quadrust.com/article/money-public-art-and-presidential-politics these wars on women are hardly the stuff for soliciting their vote.
Didn’t you see any of this, Mitt? What, no advance team to check things out? Given all the missteps lately, forget talks to the public; it’s your campaign staff that needs the talking to.