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One Foot in the Past - Sculpture


The magic of fountains, the genius of Antonio Canova and the power of the gargoyle are all celebrated in a programme marking the Year of Public Sculpture, 2000. Kirsty Wark goes in search of the perfect fountain to commemorate Princess Diana. Fountains have never been embraced in Britain, despite their huge popularity on the continent. The country's biggest, at Witley Court in Worcestershire, lies neglected and in need of repair, and the most famous, Eros in London, emits no more than a sad dribble. Sculptor Alexander Stoddart reveals hidden depths in the work of Canova, the creator of the Three Graces. Often dismissed as shallow and empty, Canova's work, from a king with a female body to a naked Napoleon, has the power to shock and subvert. Roger Bowdler enters the mysterious world of grotesques, goblins and gremlins. They adorn churches all over the country, but are perhaps the most misunderstood public sculptures of all. Crude and sexual, or comic and deranged, they had a deadly serious role to play in the battle for people's souls.

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