The Three Graces

The Three Graces

In this series I exam the manipulation of the feminine body through the nude artworks from the art history.  Nudity and censorship are the focal point of my research. I transform the bodies from the real presentation to the abstract forms. This transformation starts from the projection of reality to representation of fantasy. In other words, this is a journey from the figuration to abstraction. With the aim to redefine volumes to create new juxtaposed forms, I will be exploring how this impacts the representation of gendered form and space.

In January 2016, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, visited Italy and signed a seventeen-billion-euro business contract with Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi. The official meeting was held in Rome’s Capitoline Museum, with the museum’s nude statues covered up as a sign of respect for the Islamic Republic of Iran. The covered statues made this otherwise relatively ordinary news item controversial, especially in Italy and Iran: in Italy the act of covering the statues had plenty of opponents, while Iran’s government seemed well pleased.

Soon after Rouhani and Pope Francis met at the Vatican, a spoof photo appeared on social media depicting the two of them in front of a nude painting: The Three Graces, by Peter Paul Rubens. Through this Photoshopped spoof image, the official meeting became more controversial than the subject it was convened to discuss.

I have chosen the story of this image as my focus for the first part of this project. Using   Rubens’s painting and the Facebook spoof, I will explore several phenomena, including Muslim belief and the banning of nudity, the Italian authorities’ decision to cover the nude statues, and the seventeen-billion-euro deal between Iran and Italy.

Bahar Taheri 2016