Bronze statue of woman in see-through dress sparks sexism row in Italy

28 September 2021, 06:21 | Updated: 28 September 2021, 11:56

A statue depicting a woman from a famous 19th century poem wearing a transparent dress has triggered a sexism row in Italy.

The bronze statue by Emanuele Stifano was unveiled on Saturday in Sapri, in the southern province of Salerno.

It is a tribute to La Spigolatrice di Sapri (The Gleaner of Sapri), written by the poet Luigi Mercantini in 1857.

The statue shows a peasant woman, who is wearing a long, see-through dress that clings to her body, looking over her left shoulder.

Photos of the unveiling ceremony showed a large group of men, including former Italian prime minister Guiseppe Conte, standing around the statue.

But it has caused an outcry in Italy, with many women's rights activists calling for it to be taken down.

Laura Boldrini, a deputy with the centre-left Democratic party, said the statue was an "offence to women and the history it should celebrate".

She wrote on Twitter: "But how can even the institutions accept the representation of a woman as a sexualised body?"

But Stifano has defended the statue, writing on Facebook that had it been up to him the figure would have been "completely naked... simply because I am a lover of the human body".