If art is supposed to be provocative, to generate questions and discussion and interest, then the bust of Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled outside the airport now named after him was a rousing success, even if it completely failed as an accurate representation of what Ronaldo actually looks like. You know who else was provocative, who made you think in ways you might’ve thought were strange and unnatural? Jesus Christ, that’s who. And it’s that model of thinking that the bust’s sculptor has sought to recreate in himself today.
The Guardian has some quotes from the artist in question, the local Madeiran sculptor Emanuel Santos, as he explained how he remains above the negative reaction to his work:
“It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone,” he said. “This is a matter of taste, so it is not as simple as it seems. What matters is the impact that this work generated. There is always the possibility of making a difference, I was prepared for all this. I used as a base some photos of Cristiano Ronaldo that I found on the internet, nothing specific. I put the photos next to me and started working on the bust.”
So apparently Santos is not blind, and has actually seen Ronaldo’s face, though maybe only in pictures. Good to know.
Also good to know is that not only is Santos not blind, he wasn’t working blind, either. Santos said Ronaldo was made aware of the status of the bust through some photos, and that the Real Madrid star actually did request some alterations so that the bust would better please him. But Ronaldo’s notes were only for Santos to make the bust appear younger and happier:
“Cristiano saw the photos that his brother sent him. I was with the brother at Cristiano’s museum in Madeira and from the messages he sent, I could tell that he liked what he saw,” he said. “He only asked for some wrinkles that give him a certain expression in his face when he’s about to laugh to be changed. He said it made him look older and asked for it to be thinned out a bit to make it smoother and more jovial. But they gave it the go-ahead; they liked what they saw.”
Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder, even if no one can stare too long into those pinched and sunken eyes to find it.