In Venere degli stracci (Venus of the Rags),1967, the reproduction of a Greek statue, the Callipigia Venus,a metaphor for memory, relates to a multicolored pile of discarded garments, symbolizing everyday life, in a dense dialogue between past and present. The rags, taken as pictorial elements, represent everything that passes, the transformation of matter, the transitory. But they also have an ideological component as the product of a consumer society and indicate its growing number of poor people.
Meanwhile, the cement copy of a classical Venus, covered in mica, an extremely luminous material, is a formal element that refers to an immutable beauty. With this work, Pistoletto indicates another way of looking at art from the past, using history to recontextualize this figure, the face of which is rooted in contemporary existence and the physicality of the present.


  • Title: Venus of the Rags
  • Creator: Michelangelo Pistoletto
  • Date Created: 1967
  • Location Created: Rivoli, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Venus, 51 3/16 x 15 3/4 x 17 11/16 in; installation, 59 1/16 x 110 1/4 x 39 3/8 in.
  • Rights: Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino on loan from Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT

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