Consumed by Curiosity
Some sculptures suggest a contact just for fun inspiring to take a selfie like the Molossian dogs in the Octagonal Courtyard of the Vatican Museums or the Wild Boar bronze in Florence seem ‘asking’ the tourist for a photo-souvenir that becomes a ‘must’ required. Exactly like the modern Centurions under the Colosseum or Mikey Mouse in a Disney Park.
Thinking back to the famous representation of Michelangelo Buonarroti, almost totally blind, ‘touching’ the Belvedere Torso to ‘better see’ the forms, we can say that the substantive reasons for this action are hidden in a deeper and more intimate knowledge of the ancient masterpiece. It is a noble reason to touch, a personal, intimate and profound ‘need’, very similar to the sense of the hug between two persons. Like touching something to make real the relationship between the two parts.
But the true reason is that in the exact moment we are contemplating the work of art we become part of its own dimension. The act of touching it represents exactly the edge beyond which everything returns to a real and objective state. By touching the statue we bring it to our dimension, a more humane measure.
It’s not exactly like asking the rockstar for an autograph, or to touch the balls of Wall Street’s Bull in New York. It’s not about bringing home a souvenir like a relic. Touching the work of art is an unconscious, instinctive need, those who perceives it want to discover, want to know more.