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Controversial John Paul II statue revamped in Rome

Published on Nov 20, 2012 6:10 AM
A combination of two pictures showing (at right) a 5.5m tall bronze statue of the late Pope John Paul II on May 19, 2011 and (at left) a giant statue of Pope John Paul II displayed outside Rome's Termini train Station on November 19, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - A new version of the controversial statue of pope John Paul II, which had to be revamped following a public outcry over its ugliness last year, was unveiled in front of Rome's central station on Monday.

The five-metre high bronze statue, designed by the Italian artist Oliviero Rainaldi, was unveiled in May last year, just weeks after the late pope was put on the path to sainthood - but immediately sparked controversy.

John Paul, who died in 2005, smiles benignly down on passers-by, his bronze head supported by a structure with no body, but a large cloak ready to embrace those in need.

The harsh edges of the cloak - which previously had a box-like structure - have been softened in the new version, and the popular former pope's head has been tilted forward to sit better on his body, creating a more humane effect.

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