Vatican slams new Pope John Paul II sculpture

AP reports that not everyone likes the new Pope John Paul II sculpture in Rome. What do you think?

Italy Vatican Pope's Sculpture


  1. One report compared the face to that of Mussolini. Closeups of the face, set along side those of the pontiff later in life, suggest more of a resemblance.

    I can wholly appreciate the sculptor wanting to produce something that looks like it belongs to the 21st, and not the 19th century. He could have split the difference, studied the work of Giacomo ManzĂą a bit more closely, and come up with something more appealing.

  2. I appreciate that the city of Rome and Ravasi’s Culture Council (not the new art-critical CDWDS) opted for contemporary. The Arthur Danto-esque interpretation through juxtaposition with other forms and historic persons is an unconvincing criticism; Much like the US World War II monument being critiqued as Fascist based solely upon its bulky formal volumes.

    Yet from the images of the new sculpture I’ve seen it doesn’t make my list of successful public installations. Simply on the level of formal analysis its volumes and structural relationships are ponderous. Nor do I care for the too obvious seaming and patina of the bronze. As a representative work for public consumption I doubt that any aspect of the late pope is “readable” from afar thus making the face a superfluous consideration. It doesn’t seem to strike a balance between representation through image/likeness and structural form/concept. These factors alone seem to make the moralistic cries of “embarrassing,” “belittling” given in various reporting on the sculpture non-substantive and hyperbolic.

  3. Congrats to anyone who can make something out of that photograph! If anyone can really tell that this is ugly I am amazed. And as for ugly you should see the statue of Father Damien in the state house in Honolulu. Of course, it was meant to be a heap of ugliness. He looked like that when he died. Ugly is not always bad.

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