A Statue of Pope John Paul II Brings Out the Critic in Italians
ROME — The backdrop may be the Termini train station, but the chatter these days evokes a Damien Hirst opening. The object of the attention is a 17-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Pope John Paul II unveiled on May 18, his birthday.
The verdict, at least as registered by the Italian news media and several online polls, is a merciless thumbs down.
The starkly spare sculpture by a Rome-based artist, Oliviero Rainaldi, depicts the pope condensed into a massive mantle as if to envelop the faithful. It has been alternately described as a sentry box, a bell and a papal vespasiano, as Romans call a urinal. (Vespasian was the first-century emperor who levied a tax on urine, which was used for tanning leather.)
The crescendo of outrage grew so rapidly that Rome’s traffic cops had to be deployed to keep a 24-hour watch to ward off potential vandalism until video cameras could be installed on surrounding lampposts....
comments powered by Disqus
- World War I records reveal myths and realities of soldiers with ‘shell shock’
- Were Neanderthals a sub-species of modern humans? New research says no
- Irish archaeological sites explain huge European population fall
- Reactions to JFK Assassination Included Fear of Possible Soviet Strike against U.S.; Desire to "Bond" with LBJ
- Swiss Museum to Announce Decision on Nazi-Looted Art Next Week
- Middle East Studies Association Fights a Rising Tide of Critics
- Juan Cole says the postwar Middle East governments were modeled on the Soviet Union, though not communist (interview)
- Ted Widmer picks the 5 best presidential books worth reading
- AHA backs California's LGBT History law
- Cultural historian traces history of baby food