September 26, 2007

Statues of strangeness 2

Filed under: art, England, Spain — podtourz @ 9:13 am

One of my favourite occupations when travelling is to keep an eye open for unusual statues. Any city is full of the great and the good – often, generals who were well known in their time but now almost forgotten, or civil servants whose claims to fame have lapsed – but the statues I’m looking for are the unofficial, sometimes strange or quirky.

There’s a nice article in the Telegraph today on London statues. Now I don’t think  Christopher Somerville should have left out the fine Charles I by Le Sueur in Trafalgar Square. It’s not a Bernini, but it breathes the same air of Baroque plenitude. But some of his other selections are interesting. He prefers the informal (Churchill and Roosevelt cracking a joke) to the formal, the fantastic (the composer Purcell dreaming) to the ordinary, ‘everyman’ (the Jewish children of Liverpool Street) to the nobs. And he also finds room (as I have done in my own life) for one very special companion – a feline, Hodge, Doctor Johnson’s cat, “a very fine cat indeed.” (Being a lover of the Baroque rather than the Enlightenment, I don’t like Doctor Johnson overmuch, but his ailurophilia – and in particular his consideration of Hodge’s feelings – is an endearing feature.)

I think I blogged the great statue of the tom cat in El Raval, Barcelona, a while ago. Wikipedia’s now got a picture of it. And El Pais has an article on it (only if you speak Spanish, though), pointing out that it’s already had several lives – it’s lived in the Olympic stadium, the Ciutadella park, on the Paral.lel…  and it is now purring away quite happy in this slightly seedy quarter, where no doubt it can find enough food in the rubbish bins!


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