Regrettably, the statue resembles neither the handsome 58-year-old who charmed the Romans by speaking their dialect, or the suffering 83-year-old who inspired them with his courage. It evokes neither the warm sparkle in his eye seen during his 331 visits to Rome's 337 parishes nor the determined set of his face when he sternly denounced the mafia preying on the Italian people.(Image) Share
Mostly, the indistinctness of the work seems to be a betrayal of the man. John Paul II was clear and outspoken, never ambiguous. This is the man who restored the Sistine Chapel to return beauty to the world and the best Rome can offer is a befuddling bronze blob? For a city that immortalized Augustus with the Prima Porta statue, where Michelangelo left us Moses, and Bernini's sculptures seem to speak, Oliviero Rainaldi's efforts make one wonder where the proud tradition of art has gone.
Suddenly Pope Julius II, micro-manager of the arts, breathing over Michelangelo's shoulder or overworking Raphael, seems like a patron devoutly to be desired.