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.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Game of Thrones, season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures