Rainaldi’a “Antigone” mourns the conflict between ethics – and the law


Oliviero Rainaldi, better known recently, as the sculptor behind the much-debated and less-loved statue of Pope John Paul II, which is located in the Piazza in front of Rome’s train station, returns victor, to the Eternal City, with “Antigone,” a group of sculptures depicting Oedipus’ ill-fated daughter mourning the death of her brother Polynices.

The sculpture was commissioned two years ago by Italy’s Avvocatura Generale – the seat of Italy’s state lawyer’s guild – located in the repurposed Convent of Saint Augustine; it was unveiled to better reviews than met his controversial monumental public statue depicting the much-beloved Pontiff. The statue depicts one of the more poignant myths of antiquity. She was the daughter of the incestuous marriage between King Oedipus of Thebes, and his mother Jocasta. Rainaldi’s plaster relief depicts the grieving Antigone in her attempt to bury her brother, traitor to Thebes, even though the law forbade even mourning him, on pain of death.

Read more about the myth of Antigone on the Wikipedia article, linked here.

The figures’ bold abstraction underlines the humanist values of ethics versus civil law, the spareness of the work, its apparent pathos speaks to human laws, dictated by social interests confronting the absolutist values of conscience.

Timely, indeed.

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

The controversial – and recently “restored” – statue of the Pope in Rome, gets an anti-graffiti patina

Controversial Pope John Paul statue in the Piazza gets a facelift

The Mayor of Rome appoints a Commission of Art Experts – the controversial Pope John statue in the Piazza gets “fixed”

Sculpture in the Piazza: new statue of Pope John unveiled in Rome provokes outrage… a controversy Made in Italy


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