Rodin desecration dismays Argentine art-lovers
Thursday 08 September 2011
Art-lovers in Argentina are up in arms after a cast of Auguste Rodin's inspiring "The Thinker" sculpture was defaced by vandals only to suffer more potential damage as it was cleaned.
Crafted more than a century ago, the statue depicts a seated male nude, his chin resting on his hand, lost in thought. Considered a masterpiece of late 19th-early 20th century art, it is Rodin's most recognizable work.
The original bronze and marble statue is on display at Paris's Rodin Museum, home also to "The Gates of Hell", the French sculptor's monumental masterpiece depicting a scene from Italian poet Dante's "The Inferno".
"The Thinker" in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires is number 3, the third of 22 original sculptures, eight of which were completed from the original mold during Rodin's (1840-1917) lifetime.
Exhibited on a plinth in a main square in front of Argentina's national Congress building, the sculpture is a popular tourist attraction in the city, which is known, fittingly enough, as the Paris of Latin America.
But the beloved work was defaced last week, splattered by unknown assailants with paint and spraypaint - an act of vandalism that elicited cries of outrage across this culture-loving country.
"It's scandalous," said Teresa de Anchorena, the member of a commission here tasked with preserving Argentina's heritage.
Officials as yet do not have a motive for the vandalism and have no known suspects.
Hoping to return the work to its former glory, the Buenos Aires government arranged to blast the statue with water to remove the paint, a course of action that left art conservationists aghast.
The aggressive cleaning technique, they said, may have done more harm than good "because irreversible damage could result to the original patination," said art expert Cristina Lancellotti.
Bluish-green patina that forms on the surface of bronze objects over time because of oxidation gives the metal artwork its unique look and is considered an integral part of the world-renowned sculpture.
Authorities, anxious to prevent a repeat of the cultural sacrilege, are considering relocating the sculpture closer to the actual parliament building.
The Buenos Aires city council is also considering a new law to place a protective metal grille around the artwork.
Casts of "The Thinker" can be found around the world, including at Columbia University in New York City, the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, and the Laeken Cemetery in Brussels.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
lifeIt takes year-long dedication to get Selfridges ready for 25 December. And they're already working on plans for 2015...
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
Coriolanus, theatre review: 'Tom Hiddleston has blazing stellar power'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
A special delivery: Behind the scenes on the set of 'Call the Midwife'
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Police forces probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >