Sunday, March 17, 2013


I was going to post a piece about the last years of Orson Welles, which a reader graciously sent me not long ago. But the day has been a busy one, too busy to retype that article. So I've decided, as a non-political Sunday treat, to share this short documentary about a monument which has fascinated me since I first saw a picture of it more than four decades ago: The Motherland statue in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad.

God, I want to see this one day.

The second half of this documentary contains some truly amazing shots of the mountain climbers whose job it is to check the work for damage. If your jaw doesn't drop, it must be wired into place.

Although the statue is formally called "The Motherland Calls," it is also referred to as "Mother Motherland" (a title that makes more sense in Russian, I'm told) or simply "Motherland."

During the Cold War, I was always afraid to admit that I considered Motherland superior to the Statue of Liberty. The Russian work has that wonderful contrapposto pose. Drama. Passion. Schmaltz? I've heard some people use that term, but I can't agree. The thing is alive.

As for the Statue of Liberty: My feelings remain mixed. Sure, nearly everyone admires what she symbolizes. But step back and try to regard the NY monument from a completely objective, man-from-Mars standpoint: Is it really a success, aesthetically? She never looked quite female to me. She doesn't breathe. Despite her impressive size, a certain magic seems to be missing.

I still love her -- we all do. But I would have designed her differently.
Are you happy to see me, or is it chilly there in Volgograd?
The only reason I prefer the design of Statue of Liberty is that she isn't holding a weapon. Ironic in a way ain't it?
She's happy because she's won the wet t-shirt competition!

Joe, you are such a Francophile! :) Agreed about this great statue in Volgograd. Compare it with this recent ugly shit from northern England, the 'Angel of the North'. Nobody would say that statue looked any more alive than a tailor's mannequin!
Joe, I hope you'll post a drawing of your cyberversion of the Statue of Liberty.
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