The Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official daily newpaper, has rejected the already controversial bronze statue of Blessed John Paul II which was unveiled on 19 May in Piazza Cinquecento in front of Termini station. The newspaper reserved praise for the city of Rome for its decision to erect the five-metre statue but was damning in its critique of the work of sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi. It said that instead of being greeted with an instantly recognisable homage to John Paul II, those arriving into Piazza Cinquecento are met with a huge indistinct monument that bears only a vague resemblance to the late pontiff. Further it said that the silver-green hollow statue appeared to have been blown open as if by a bomb, and likened its open cloak to resembling anything from a tent, a bell, even a sentry box. Somewhat condescendingly the newspaper commended Rainaldi for at least attempting a modern style. The sculpture was inspired by the well known image of the pope playfully wrapping his cloak around a child at a papal audience in 2003. Designed specifically for Termini station, with which the pope had a special connection, the sculpture is meant to be a welcoming symbol to visitors and pilgrims to Rome. What do Wanted in Rome readers think of the statue? Please let us know!
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