The Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi has come up a design that would symbolize the recently beatified Catholic leader Pope John Paul II. The statue was placed outside Rome’s Termini train station wherein a lot of people pass by to notice. However, people wasn’t able to appreciate its appearance. It gained so much criticisms and being described as having ‘little resemblance. Even other people thought that the figure looks more like Italy’s wartime dictator Benito Mussolini than of the Pope.
Even the Vatican criticized the figure and in their official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano they wrote: ‘The result is not what was intended and his face on the top of the statue bears little resemblance and already there has been much criticism… it makes him look like a tent… it looks like a bomb has hit..’
The figure stands 5m (16ft) tall wearing a large cloak which falls to the ground on three sides, leaving a gaping hole at the front. According to the sculptor, the idea was to present a message of universal love and welcome from the blessed Pope John Paul. “I didn’t think about resemblance. I wanted a work that would harmonise the head with the body and the cloak,” Rainaldi said.
He is very disappointed of the negative reactions that the statue gained. He was even surprised of how the Vatican reacted to it that in fact he had shown the original design sketches to Benedict’s Culture Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.
Rome’s Cultural Commission president Federico Mollicone also ridiculed the figure and said, “It’s a permanent and sacrilegious mud stain on his memory.”