Like a lot of people all over the world staying closer to home because of the coronavirus, I have spent more time than usual on my phone browsing news, social media, and anything else that updates continuously. I know it isn’t healthy and I am starting to grow weary of it already.
But there have been bright spots, especially on Instagram where many Italian artists are using this time of quarantine to create.
The first burst of creativity to give me a smile and make me think “andrà tutto bene” —everything will be ok — came from one of my favorite Italian musicians Salmo.
Bored and quarantined at home, using Instagram Stories to connect with his 2.1 million followers, Salmo began thumbing through a coffee table book of the art of Caravaggio. Then he came across the image of the “Deposition of Christ,” one of Caravaggio’s most famous compositions, which hangs in the Pinacoteca of the Vatican Museums.
What happened next will probably disturb art and book lovers. Salmo took a tube of white-out and a pen and began “correcting” the Caravaggio to reflect the times. He drew facemasks over the mouths of each of the figures, a nod to all of the doctors, nurses, and loved ones who are now having to cope with unspeakable loss. In Christ’s hand, Salmo drew a white banner (or an open book or ledger?) and wrote #2020.
In the caption, Salmo apologizes to Caravaggio and Banksy, the latter of which is well-known for using familiar images to comment on modern life.
Here’s Salmo’s original post on Instagram:
And here’s a capture of some of Salmo’s Instagram stories in which he discusses Caravaggio:
Because of the success of his two albums in 2019, Salmo was set to embark on his first world tour this week. The tour has been postponed until at least October.
On a personal note, I have been a big fan of Salmo, an Italian rapper, since 2016 when he released his breakthrough album “Hellvisback.” But I never thought I could write about him here on this little travel blog, despite the fact that he has been one of the best-selling musical acts in Italy for the past four years.
“Italian rap and ‘religious art to see in Rome’ are two subjects that don’t mix very well,” I thought. But Italy contains multitudes and I do, too.
So, stay tuned for more niche, out-of-left-field posts as we all try to get through these very strange times together.