One recalls this unforgettable image out of classic Italian cinema. A helicopter transports a statue of Christ over an ancient Roman aqueduct while a second, Marcello's news helicopter, follows it into the city. The news helicopter is momentarily sidetracked by a group of bikini-clad women sunbathing on the rooftop of a high-rise apartment building. Hovering above, Marcello uses gestures to elicit phone numbers from them but fails in his attempt then shrugs and continues on following the statue on to Saint Peter's Square.
The Romanesque façade of San Michele, Lucca's most celebrated church, features busts of important men of the age rather than mythological or biblical figures. But what about this statue these men are removing? I don't remember ever seeing it up there among the others that are all so far superior in quality.
Poetic moments like this one, from Fellini's La Dolce Vita, resonate across ages and cultures. Forty years after it was shot this image is still a portentous comment about the times in which we live.
And the statue these men are lowering to the ground? It was an exercise performed, last Saturday, by the rescue division of the Fine Arts Authority of Italy, a demonstration of how Italy's patrimony was recovered after the earthquake in L'aquilla almost two years ago to the date. Curating Italy's great treasures is no minor task. When the statue reached the ground it met with applause from the crowded piazza.