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Sculptor defends unpopular Roman statue of Blessed John Paul II

CWN - June 22, 2011

The sculptor who created a controversial statue of Blessed John Paul II, now on display outside Rome's central train station, still believes that his work will eventually be recognized as a "classic," in spite the current public rejection.

Olivero Rainaldi told the Catholic News Agency that he realized his approach was "not convention" and not "what was expected," but the abstract bronze statue had lasting artistic merit. "Why do we need a photographic resemblance?" he asked.

The unveiling of the statue drew a largely negative public response, with polls showing that 88% of the Roman public dislikes the image. Cardinal Gionfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, revealed that the Vatican officials approved an early sketch of the statue, but were surprised by the final product.

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