The Rape of Polyxena’ 1866 by Pio Fedi (1815–1892) in the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Republica in Florence. Isn’t it sobering to think that men were able to create this extraordinary masterpieces full of dynamism in stone just 150 years ago? Just imagine what their minds must have been like? Agile, optimistic and versatile!
When Modernist theories came along in the early 20th century, a cloak of suspicion was thrown over beauty and a cult was made of nihilism and ugliness. Modernist architectural theorists demanded that form must express function (Bauhaus & Corbusier), and before we knew it, we were quickly surrounded by monstrosities which, we were told by academics and the media, were “relevant” and “honest”. I dream of a period of ‘Inverse Iconoclasm’ during which all buildings erected in the ‘Brutalist’ style, (such as the Barbican and The National Theatre’ in London), are enthusiastically demolished. I imagine priests sprinkling holy water onto heavy steel wrecking balls which pound into walls and any sculptures by Elizabeth Frink. Lynn Chadwick or Kenneth Armitage.