Eva Green, the goddess. Thanks to Bertolucci we’ve been dreaming about her for more than ten years. Her incarnation of the Venus de Milo is a disturbing image, an erotic micro-show, a celebration of beauty and a homage to each and every one of the most relevant episodes in the history of art, from the classics to Surrealism. The elegance and mystery of this Venus has fascinated many artists (Magritte, Dalí…), who devoted to her their particular clin d’œil. The woman with no arms, all bust, pure fetish, defenceless before the fantasies of her opponent, subdued, “I can’t stop you, I have no arms” Green would say on the next scene while we hear The Doors. Knock-knock, Freud is knocking on the door.
The Venus de Milo and Eva Green, separated by 2000 years. Does anybody really believe that avant-garde, abstract or conceptual art movements ever managed to annihilate the concept of beauty? Wait a minute, if any feminist in the room is starting to get nervous here, please keep calm. The Venus implies the triumph of women over the arrogance of man as inseminator.
How? Very easy: the first human instances of what is considered artistic activity are tiny Venuses, like the Willendorf one, a plumper version of the Venus de Milo. But before that, Homo sapiens already decorated his cave, obsessively, with never ending series of penises and vaginas. The vaginas are much more numerous, even if on primary school textbooks it’s more decent to include just bisons. But even before the times of cave art, before Homo sapiens, Neanderthal women already practised an exercise of great plasticity with high social and communicative power: painting their bodies with red ochre when a fellow female had her periods. With this gesture, all women, as allies, confused the alpha male, who wasn’t sure as to which one was fertile (were they all?). Thus, the rest of males in the group were allowed to enter the game. With this trick, women from 30,000 years ago managed to captivate the beta male into staying with them and taking care of their offsprings and ruined the plans of the alpha male. The moral in the story is the following: the history of art begins with a woman painted in red, turning upside down the Darwinian system of the animal kingdom ruled by alpha males. And, mum, mum, look! No hands! Like the Venus!