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  • Il Dito

    By Anthony Parente

    L.O.V.E sculpture Milan
    Milan, Italy a major political center for centuries is also renowned for its art, architecture, and cultural heritage. It is also considered Italy's financial capital as it is home to the Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange). Among the many beautiful landmarks, you will find the L.O.V.E. statue that stands in the center of the Piazza degli Affari. Titled L.O.V.E. it is an acronym for Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity) and is commonly known as "Il Dito" (the finger).

    The name automatically suggests a statue of a heart or two people sharing an embrace. There are a number of images that come to mind when you think of love. This statue created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who is well known for his provocative works of art that use humor, satire, and realism to challenge the norms in the art world, is not an image that comes to mind. You might say it is more of a love hate relationship. Maurizio's statue is a giant middle finger pointed directly at Palazzo Mezzanotte, which houses the Borsa Italiana. A giant "Fuck you" to the financial world. At first glance it seems as if the other fingers are all folded down against the palm, but they are all in fact cut off. If the fingers were not severed the hand would resemble the infamous Fascist salute pointing to the Palazzo that was built during the height of fascism in Italy.

    In September 2010, the sculpture, which was only a temporary art installation, was placed in the piazza. It was well received from the people and the city government after much debate decided to make it a permanent fixture in the square. The sculpture was made with Carrara marble and including the pedestal is 11 meters (36 feet) tall. Maurizio never commented on the meaning of his statue so we can only speculate what the middle finger is representing. It has sparked a number of varying opinions among the public and art enthusiasts. New York has a statue of a charging bull that symbolizes the volative movement of the stock exchange. While Italy's statue may symbolize how people feel towards that volativity and the financial world in general.

    Piazza degle Affari is a short walk from the popular tourist destinations: Basilica di Sant' Ambrogio, Milan's Duomo, and the Castello Sforzesco. The statue has become a symbol of Milan's modern art scene and tourists flock to take photos of this controversial statue. Yes, a popular thing to do is smile as you flip the bird.

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