Rome unveils remake of John Paul II statue

On 19 November Rome re-inaugurated the statue of Blessed John Paul II in front of Termini station, following the "completion" of the original work after it received widespread criticism from the public, the city and the Vatican.

The five-metre bronze statue in Piazza dei Cinquecento is the work of noted Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi who was requested by the city to re-work the statue after its unveiling in May 2011. Passersby claimed there was scant similarity between the late Polish pontiff and the statue which the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano famously described as resembling a sentry box.

The revisions, which the city claims cost it nothing, focused on adding a smile to the statue's face as well as elongating a formerly-absent neck and altering the chin. The bronze veneer has been resealed, the mottled green colour evened out, and the cloak has been adapted. The base has been raised and the monument repositioned slightly although it remains on the same site.

Rainaldi, who was present at the latest unveiling, says he is satisfied with the statue which now matches his original vision. He blamed the faulty original version on the foundry and the rush to finish the statue in time for the 2011 unveiling.