EuropeShotCryptic Venus by Nicoletta Cerasomma

The main characters and subjects of this project are women from Lucca, feminine figure that shaped their lives based on their will.

The main characters and subjects of this project are women from Lucca, feminine figure that shaped their lives based on their will.

Doing so, they deprived themselves of their own identity in order to become symbolic icons, the reflection of the society they lived in. What I want to represent in my pictures is their stories and plumb the depth of their legacy that still affects our cultural heritage. For this reason, through a sharp selection of objects, I recall the cultural contest they lived in and, at the same time, emphasize their contribution to the creation of Lucca’ social and cultural context and local community identity.

Although some of these characters are based on real people who really did exist, the mystery and the unknown which surround them let public link them to an imaginary world, made up of ancestral fears and archetypes.

Starting from the idea of community, intended as the set of stories, symbols, rituals that identify it, this project aims to dig the stereotypes and their emblematic function, seeking especially the deepest fears men have to face during their lives and the necessity of belonging to the Community. This is an introspective project focused on men’s worries such as solitude, suffering, incomprehension, detachment. This feelings floor the human being, unarmed and defenseless facing loss and confusion. [Official Website]

Lucida Mansi – in memory of

She was adored by men but people say she killed her partners after their encounters, by throwing them into trap- doors with innumerable sharp blades. Nowdays it is possible to see the trap near her bed in the villa. As the story goes, one day Lucida woke up and found a small wrinkle on her face and became desperate at losing her beauty. At that moment the devil appeared and promised her that she could remain young and beautiful for twenty years in exchange of her soul. She accepted. Twenty years later one dark stormy night, the devil reappeared claiming Lucida’s soul. she jumped into her carriage and began racing around the walls of Lucca but leaped from the wall ending up in a small lake where Lucida drowned.

Lucida Mansi – The silk road

The Mansi family was well-known in the 16th century due to the trade of silk. Lucida loved luxurious things and sumptuous parties, as much as she loved being surrounded by lovers. Someone says she sat for hours admiring herself in the mirror. The typical yellow color of the textiles made in Lucca was obtained from zafferrano and fixed with alum, the purple colors were obtained with the vegetable.

Lucida Mansi – The death of a Diva

The ghost of the beautiful Lucida appears in Villa Mansi in Segromigno, where she used to entertain herself and kill her many lovers

The Witch of Pratofiorito

Seek the mystery in silent things, don’t be afraid to suffer or die. You live on continuous rebirths. I lived my time walking around the world with a bare heart. I give you the dust of my days, blow it in the wind make me free, so that I may be born again, flower in a field, cloud in the sky, star in the darkness of the night. Red is the colour who protect people from witches.

The last letter of Polissena

Lucca 1571, the inquisition condemned two women accused of witchcraft. Margherita di San Rocco and Polissena di San Macario, were burned alive. They were accused of having extracted from the organs from children’s bodies. These organs were necessary for the for rituals and they had miraculous properties like transform men into animals.

The red color of the witch

Local people say that witches appear in Pratofiorito and they do their sabbath dancing in a circle. In Pratofiorito there is an extraordinary density of poisonous herbs and many botanical species traditionally used in rituals and esoteric practices. It has been hypothesized that there, in remote times, there was a botanical garden rich in species with medicinal properties. There is a Church near Pratofiorito built on Diana’s temple.

Lucrezia Buonvisi – in memory of

Lucrezia Buonvisi grew up in Ferrara but her family was from lucca. Her family decided she have to merry her cousin but unfortunately he died so that she become engaged with the second one . He died again. So she merried her third cousin. She was fallen in love with a man colled Massimiliano Arnolfini and he always was her lover. One day Arnofini killed her husband outside a Church.

Lucrezia Buonvisi – the nun who kill

After one year from marriage Lucrezia became Massimiliano Arnolfini’s lover, who was a very rich Lucchese family, the same one depicted in the famous Van Eyck painting of 1434, preserved in the National Gallery in London. When Lucrezia’s husband was killed the police arrested him and Lucrezia was confined for the rest of her life in a convent.

Lucrezia Buonvisi and her love

Confined in the convent she used to meet her many lovers creating a scandal. And also she killed a nun. At the end of the story she was walled up in a room.

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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