How Do They Smell? (Venezia 259)

Just a few yards from La Partigiana, an artwork replacing a statue dynamited by fascist sympathisers, stands a bust of a composer who died in the city.  Nothing remarkable about his presence here then, though there is an irony in the juxtaposition of this work with the other, given his reputation for anti-semitism and adoption as an exemplar by the Nazi party.

To be fair to Richard Wagner, the Nazism occurred long after his death so he could not be held responsible, and with a number of Jews among his close friends his views may well have been exaggerated.  Nevertheless he is a controversial figure, which perhaps explains why in recent years an act of vandalism saw his nose smashed off.  It seems that the left and the right are no respecters of art, though as the bust of Verdi in the same park was also attacked, perhaps the act wasn’t politically motivated so much as that of an opera critic?



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