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
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History