Wednesday 22 January 2020

Controversial statue of Pope John Paul II that looked more like Mussolini reworked

The revised Pope John Paul II statue (right), and in its previous form (left). Photo: AP
The revised Pope John Paul II statue (right), and in its previous form (left). Photo: AP
Pope John Paul II. Photo: AP
Pope John Paul II

Michael Day

A controversial statue of Pope John Paul II that some critics said looked more like Benito Mussolini, has been unveiled in its revised form.

Sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi expressed satisfaction with the final version of the work, which he said, matched his original vision.

He blamed workers for a botched assemblage the first time around.

The bronze statue’s face now appears less stern. And some efforts have been made to give the figure a neck.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, hailed the changes to the statue, which rises from the flower beds outside the city’s main Termini train station.

Not everyone was convinced, however. “They've made it worse,” said Fabio Sabbatani Schiuma, a Rome city councillor. “It looks even more like Mussolini.”

When the five-metre bronze monument was unveiled in May last year, many people were aghast.

The abstract rendering featured a heavy-set head on a minimalist, billowing cloak, which was intended to symbolise the late pontiff’s willingness to embrace his flock.

But the statue’s tent-liked form, squashed facial features and bullet-shaped head did not go down well with church or layman.

Some critics said it resembled a creature from Star Trek. An online poll in La Repubblica newspaper suggested 86 per cent of the public disliked the statue.

Independent News Service

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