by Manfred Manera
Saturday, 22
January 2022
Off grid
07:00

Canova’s Theseus get masked up in Vienna

Austria's number one museum has fallen victim to hygiene theatre
by Manfred Manera
Theseus

Full vaccination mandates exist in only a few countries around the world, including Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, but soon they will come into effect in Austria, the first European country to require all of its citizens to be vaccinated.

In my country one cannot even buy a pair of shoes or enter a cafe without showing a vaccination certificate and a passport. In fact, the focus on Covid here is so all-encompassing that even great pieces of art are now involved. In the famous Kunsthistorisches Museum, I came upon a Canova masterpiece, Theseus and the Centaur, with the former’s face covered by a black and pink mask.

Initially I put it down to the work of some overzealous visitor, but when I spoke to a museum employee at the desk office, she told me that the mask had been added with the approval of the director, in spite of many complaints — not least from a member of the Habsburg family (the Habsburgs originally purchased the artwork).

It is unclear what drove Mrs Sabine Haag, the General Director, to mask up poor Theseus. After all, the statue depicts Theseus slaying a centaur — did he really need to worry about catching Covid as well? Hailing from Athens, the birthplace of logic, democracy, free speech — his masking feels bittersweet.

Perhaps the director’s idea was to follow in the footsteps of Marcel Duchamp, who specialised in quirky adaptations of classic pieces of art. But where Duchamp wanted to scandalise the bourgeoisie and subvert dominant narratives, the director’s attempt at iconoclasm does the exact opposite: it simply reinforces the official narrative. Moreover, Duchamp only used reproductions; he didn’t toy with the original artwork as this director did. By using classic art to promote a contemporary political message, surely it cheapens the work (and the message)?  

Many people have grown tired of these strange instances of hygiene theatre. It strikes me as a symptom of a much broader malaise in Austria — one in which it is considered normal to put an entire section of the population under house arrest. Yet citizens are slowly starting to fight back; last weekend tens of thousands of Austrians took to the streets to protest against these mandates. Whether the Government will change course remains to be seen — but in the mean time, leave poor Theseus alone.

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Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
6 months ago

With these mask zealots, wearing one now is like some show of religious piety. They’re extremely proud of it, they revel in it, regardless of whether there’s any point in wearing one at all. It’s become perhaps the strangest, most creepy social phenomena I’ve ever seen

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago

The mask is not to stop viruses leaving the mouth – but words.

It is a tool of division so all may be polarized, must wear their badge of conformity, and obey, and show that fear has compelled them to be on the correct side – less they be banned, ticketed, shunned, and called an anti-vaxer.

The mask is not liberation through better health – but oppression through totalitarian directives.

Jan 23, the great DC anti Mandate Protest – Bret Weinstein has just dropped out from speaking at the rally – he fears violent mobs, False Flags, and Political Police trying to turn this protest into ‘Insurrection’ and open the political Gulags wider.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
6 months ago

Next time you visit the museum, bring a pair of scissors.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

The museums are now fully captured by the woke Liberal/Left postmodernists.

As a museum is all to show the path of humans from ancient ways slowly, and inexorably, moving to modern rationality; which took off in the Renaissance – the time from then to Now is called ‘Modern’, and ‘post modernism’ is the refutation of all which came from that increasing intellectualism, science, political advancement, philosophical, Religious, and progress of all kinds.

Now Post Modernist Liberal Left run the universities, schools, arts, social services, And museums – they rewrite history to twist it into their sick beliefs – and what could be a more perfect symbol of that than by this symbolic defacing of an ancient masterpiece.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
6 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Quite so, which is why we mustn’t stand for this nonsense. Snip snip!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
6 months ago

But where Duchamp wanted to scandalise the bourgeoisie and subvert dominant narratives, the director’s attempt at iconoclasm does the exact opposite: it simply reinforces the official narrative.

Does it? Or does it make people question the official narrative?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
6 months ago

Good point; this is what I thouht when I saw the picture.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 months ago

Me too. I assumed it was a satirical comment on mask mania

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It’s clearly a fully-fledged representation of toxic masculinity, should be covered entirely.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

What was intended and what was achieved could well be opposites

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago

It is ghoulish…

Andrea X
Andrea X
6 months ago

Is there a German speaker?

https://fb.watch/aHX2OK-K72/

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Up to a point, but unfortunately I’m not on Facebook.