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The eyes of great paintings follow you around a room, but his can’t seem to focus. Emanuel Santos’s bust of Cristiano Ronaldo is an exaggerated, silly depiction of the Portuguese footballing legend. When it was unveiled in 2017 at Madeira airport, it was met with universal derision. People mocked Santos’s work, social media exploded in ridicule, headlines around the world decried the sculpture’s awfulness. Suddenly, this sculptor was the most famous artist in the world.
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Santos was eventually left to lick his wounds in anonymity. Until last week, when the sports website Bleacher Report decided to peel open the scab. Like a modern-day House of Medici with added banter, they commissioned Santos to remake the sculpture to atone for his supposed sins.
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The 10-minute video of his artistic redemption is brutal. Santos and his wife repeatedly break down in tears recalling the days that followed the unveiling. The producers plonk him next to his original sculpture at Madeira airport – or, to give it its full title, Cristiano Ronaldo international airport – and ask a tide of vitamin D-deficient tourists their opinion, who are unaware that the artist is stood right next to them. “Doesn’t look anything like him”, “it’s not very good”, “try again” they spout while Santos grimaces. It’s the public flaying of Alex Carrington Authentic Jersey Santos for clicks.

Then they film him sculpting – pounding, scraping and moulding – before taking the new bust to be cast. He cracks open the wooden box with the new work in Eric Lindros Authentic Jersey front of the original. Staring down at this severed head in a box, he says: “It’s very good.” As if it’s by someone else. What you’ve just watched is an artist’s soul die.

Neither sculpture is a true likeness of the subject, but the first undermines the hero-worship of the idol – he is fallible, wrong, off-kilter. The second is more acceptable because it adheres to the guidelines of Brand Ronaldo, showing him as powerful, chiselled, perfect. While the first is almost iconoclastic in its flawed depiction, the second is a reassuring statement that we are mortals and Ronaldo is not.

I reply on Twitter to Bleacher Report’s announcement of the new sculpture by saying that the original is better. I receive countless replies from people with handles like
VivaLaVardy and
Gerrxrd, anonymous grown men with footballers for profile pictures. They call me a nonce, an irrelevant prick. My favourite says “you reek of piss you virgin”. It’s nasty, but it’s people actually engaging Jason Taylor Authentic Jersey with art and it’s been decades since we’ve had a shark in formaldehyde to send some people into conniptions.

So why are people offended by the first bust and not the new one? In this scenario, the social media masses have become censors, ensuring that the tenets of representational art are adhered to. It’s a modern take on socialist realism, with rules enforced not by the state but by the worshipful public. Vast numbers of people still expect and want art to be purely representational, and that is a sad indictment of contemporary art education. We are post-Rodin, post-Brancusi, post-conceptualism, and still Santos’s sculpture is an artistic failure to the majority.

The original really is a better sculpture. It’s an ecstatic mess, its face a hybrid of Ronaldo and Santos’s, two sets of features squidged together. It’s the artist seeing something of himself in the rags-to-riches glory of Ronaldo. It’s feverish, intense; the work of someone driven obsessively. The new version is someone forced into Brady Skjei Jersey a do-over to save face. Whereas the eyes of the original bust seem pointed in a thousand directions – joyful, unfocused and giddy – the eyes of the new one look to a faraway point. They are lost, cold, sullen. This is a dead sculpture, an acceptance of defeat in the face of public outcry. And it will be immediately forgotten.

Look, they are both bad sculptures. The first one is ludicrous, the second one is bland. But at least the first one is an honest representation of the artist’s intentions. Santos admits that if he hadn’t made the first sculpture the way he did, it would have been forgotten about long ago. “No matter how few people see the positive side of the work, they are enough to give us strength,” he says. You have to hope he finds the strength to make the art that’s in his heart again. wholesale jerseys from china cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys

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