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The Art of Mess and Love: ‘Golden Venus of Rags’ vs. ‘Venus de Milo’ [Writing Prompt #210]

Venus stands in the middle of Dallas. She’s golden, glowing and powerful, but her bedroom is a mess. Could it be she has too much to wear? This artwork, Venere deglistracci dorata (Golden Venus of Rags), by Michelangelo Pistoletto was created between 1967-1971, long before Forever 21 sold disposable clothes.

I took this picture and sent it to my daughter by text, “This looks like your room.” Very funny, she said. But it’s true. It does.

What does it take to create beauty?  Naked, Venus is stunning. What transformation will be made by adorning rags? What is true beauty? What is excess? Do you really need all those clothes, Venus?

Write Venus a note. Begin something like this: Dear Venus, How far you have come from Botticelli’s shell. Or, Dear Venus, let’s sing to Bananarama and wear rubber bracelets up and down our arms. Or, Dear Venus, I’m sorry it took me so long to write, please forgive me for not understanding your beauty.  or Dear Venus de Milo,  What happened to your arms?

Venus, the goddess of love, fertility, and even modesty (believe it or not!) has something to tell you this week. Write her a letter. Use one of the starters above, or ask her everything you wanted to know about love and beauty. Then, write down her response. Write an ekphrastic poem (poem inspired by art). Choose your favorite Venus from Ancient Greece or the Dallas Art Museum or any incarnation in between. That girl’s been around for thousands of years. Why does she come into your life now?


Read more about Poetry and Art (ekphrasis) from the Academy of American Poets: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetry-art

Read more about Michelangelo Pistoletto: http://www.pistoletto.it/eng/bio_completa.htm

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