The city of the seven hills is, without a doubt, the one that has the longest roots in terms of production and accumulation of works of art. On one of these hills, mount Pincio, the Borghese Villa and Gallery are located. This place retains paintings and sculptures of Tiziano, Caravaggio, Rafael and Bernini, among other portentous artists; it is comprised of a large park with singing fountains, extensive gardens, placid ponds and stately buildings, witnesses of power and the intrigue of popes and cardinals. From September 16th to October 11th 2010, Rivelino’s monumental guardians dwelled there.
That was not the first plan. It had been originally thought to place the figures in the Piazza del Popolo, in whose center was the obelisk of Ramses II taken from Heliopolis, and place where three of the most distinguished avenues urbi et orbi converge, known as the Trident: Vía del Corso, Vía del Babuino and Vía di Ripetta. On these streets the international jet set comes together, due to the high fashion houses that are seen, as well as a large number of tourists and average Romans that enjoy walking around their city. Being an international meeting place was surely the reason why it was difficult to bring the traveling exhibit to such a place.
A series of random events linked together to end up with this curious result. Italy’s then Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, found himself mired in various sex scandals. Harmed by the damage done against him in media, he initiated legislation known as Gag rule, which strongly limited freedom of expression and carried severe penalties to editors that infringed upon it. During July 2010 mass media and the country’s left organized a strike of printed press, radio and television newscasts – in which those that were property of Berlusconi himself did not participate, of course – and they carried out diverse public protests supported by the citizenry. During the marches, which culminated on the 10th with – not casually – a day of silence, journalists and assistants covered their mouths with tape to express their disagreement of the infringement of their right to freedom of expression.
I think it is not necessary to explain further.