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Brussels gets more controversial graffiti

Jan 23, 2017

Another piece of controversial graffiti has appeared on the side of a building in Brussels. While previous public wall art in the capital has featured male and female genitalia as well as a giant anus, the most recent shows the moment before a beheading, with a third party’s hand restraining the knife-hand.

The painting, on a building by the Porte de Flandre in the city centre, is a reproduction of detail from a work by 16th-century Italian painter Caravaggio. It depicts the patriarch Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac on God’s orders, only to be restrained by an angel. The original (pictured) hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

Brussels-City mayor Yvan Mayeur said the painting could be seen as a call to violence. Ans Persoons, councillor in charge of culture and city planning, said, “I find it much too violent, and want to see it disappear as soon as possible.” The city would be contacting the owner of the building, she said.

“Art is free. Forbidden to forbid,” tweeted Sven Gatz, the Flemish minister for culture and Brussels. “Or are we going to ban Caravaggio as well?” Later, he told VRT News, “The work is well-intended. Let it stay. Just because it upsets some people doesn’t mean it’s not good art.”

He admitted the matter did not fall under his authority and he had no plans to intervene officially, but wanted to point out that removing the work would be censorship “and there’s no such thing as good censorship”.

Photo: Uffizi/Wikimedia

salsadancer Jan 24, 2017 00:12

That's the problem with this country. Graffiti is an eyesore, it is a form of trespassing, it costs money to remove and yet, a Flemish minister of Culture supports a large scale piece of graffiti. I am ashamed of him. Here again the country makes rules (graffiti is an offense) and then nothing happens when the offense appears. No wonder people do whatever they want here.

Marc Slonik Jan 24, 2017 10:13

Graffiti issues aside, I don't interprete this piece of art as a call for violence. Actually the contrary.

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