Pope John XXIII

Statue Project

Pope John XXIII Catholic Community
August 19, 2013

The Project:  To design, contract and install a life sized bronze statue of Blessed Pope John XXIII on the campus of Pope John XXIII Catholic Community in Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Note:  Blessed John XXIII will be Saint John by the time we fully proceed with the statue and that will need to be taken into account.

The overall theme of the piece:  “Good Pope John”.  We want this piece to emphasize the wonderful pastoral aspect of Pope John’s life and papacy:  his simple approach, his kindness, his approachability, and his belief that the Church is her people!

General pose:  Standing, head slightly bent down and turned slightly to the right, right hand raised in welcome, left arm raised slightly, bent and pressed against side at the waist, right foot forward and left foot back.

Age of Pope John in the statue: His age late in his papacy.  As his face looks here:

Size of statue:  Pope John was approximately 5’6” tall and he was rather stocky.  We want the statue to be exactly life size and the proportions (height to weight) to be accurate.  That would make the statue approximately 66” tall not including the statue’s base.

Clothing: To match the general theme we want to develop (Good Pope John), the clothing depicted in the statue should be the simple white cassock and zucchetto.  Example below:


Statue details:
A. The head should be turned slightly down, and to the right.  The statue’s gaze should pass just inside and above the raised right hand.


B. There should be a humble and loving smile on his face.  Just like this one:

C.  The right hand should be raised in welcome with an open, relaxed hand as seen here:

D.  The Pope’s ring should be clearly visible on the right hand.  The ring is shown here:

E.  The Pectoral Cross and chain should be around the neck and fully extended as shown here:


F. The specific Pectoral Cross is to be this one:


G. The right foot should be forward and the left back.  The cassock should not quite touch the ground and the shoes should be visible if one looks under.  The shoes should be the outdoor leather shoes from the Pope’s wardrobe not the slippers.


H. The finish will be the green patina.

I. The left arm will be bent, raised and pressed lightly against the side at the waist as shown here:

J.  The left hand will be in a relaxed, partly open position like this:

K. The sash will be the sash with the Pope’s coat of arms. (The one on the left)


Statue base:
Note:  By base, we are referring to the treatment of the bottom portion of the statue itself. 
Base:  A round, horizontal plate directly under John’s feet.  The plate is there to provide the necessary structure for fastening the statue to its concrete footer and to facilitate removal and relocation of the statue in the future.  Any fasteners must be hidden.  An example is shown here:

 

Pedestal:  There will be no pedestal.  The statue will rest directly on a footer that is at ground level.  This will put the life sized “John” on the same level with his people where they can approach him, see him up close, touch him and simply be with him.

Inscription:  Since there is no pedestal, there will be no obvious place for an inscription or other identification.  For this reason, we will develop wording for a plaque to be laid horizontally into the brick “patio” just in front of the statue.

Location on the campus:  The statue will be located to the right of the front doors of the Church building in what is currently a nearly square lawn covered space.


Preparation of that space: 
That space will essentially become a brick covered patio (to match the Founder’s Brick area) upon which the statue will stand.  The area will need to be excavated and a concrete slab poured.  The slab will be designed to accommodate the bricks and provide a footer for the statue.

Slab details:

Slab details (cont.):

Brick design within the square: 
The pattern/design of the bricks laid into the statue space should be the same as the pattern of bricks in the Founders Brick area.  This will be the simplest/cheapest option and, more importantly, it will provide for an attractive visual match across the entire front of the church.

Note:  For overall symmetry, the matching square lawn space to the left of the doors should be treated the same way sans the statue footer and statue.

Questions: 
1.   Will this be a completely original casting (no use of standards parts etc.)?
(Yes!)
2.   Will we be furnished with detailed drawings or photos of the piece as work progresses? (Yes!)
3.   What are the specific issues relating to the later relocation of the statue?  Have they done that before?  Is it problematic in any way?  What can/should be done during design to mitigate those problems?  (These issues have been resolved!)
4.   What are the technical issues relating to the statue footer?  (Should it go down to the frost line?  Should it be separated from the slab?)  (These issues have been resolved!)
  
An example of what we don’t want:

An example of the “feel” we want:

Pope John XXIII Statue Project 

Pope John XXIII Statue Project - INITIAL WORK

Our Response to the Initial Work

We have carefully reviewed the photos that were provided to us of the initial clay sculpture work done on our Pope John XXIII statue.  We understand that the clay work is incomplete and that some or our concerns may have already been addressed but we feel that comments on specific elements of the work are necessary.  Those comments follow:

The Face:  It is too narrow.  There is not enough cheek and jowl.  The smile is not strong enough.  Please refer to the planning document we provided.  Both the photo and the drawing on page 6.

The Head (position):  The head should be cocked a bit to the Pope’s right and down just a little.  It is too stiff and straight up and down as it is currently shown on the clay piece.  Again, refer to page 6.    

The Head (size):  The head is significantly smaller than it should be relative to the body.  The clay piece is six heads tall.  What we want is more like five heads tall.  This is very important to getting the height to weight ratio correct.  Refer to the sketch on page 3.

The Shoulders:  The shoulders on the clay piece are much too sloped and narrow looking.  Refer to the photos on pages 4, 5, and 8 to see the much broader shoulders we want.

The Body (general):  The body needs to be wider, plumper.  See the sketch on page 3.  We really cannot overemphasize how much we want the reality of Pope John’s girth.  Read the paragraph on page 4 under “Size of Statue”.

The Body (chest and belly):  The chest and belly need to be much heavier than they are on the clay piece.  His waist was much bigger than the clay shows.  Remember our discussions about how his cassock would hang out away from his feet.  Look at the photo on page 12.

The Feet:  The feet are too visible, which is a clear indication that the whole body is too thin.  Again, refer to the photo on page 12.

The Right Hand:  We know that the hands on the clay piece are very much unfinished but they still merit a comment.  We need the hands (especially the right hand) to be very expressive, more open and welcoming.

The Vestature:  The vestature as depicted in the clay piece is good.

The Pectoral Cross:  The pectoral cross chain could be a bit longer and the cross a bit bigger to get the cross farther down on the sash.  See the photo on page 5.

A Couple of Suggestions:  The vertical section of the sash could have a little curve or sway to it rather than hanging straight down.  This would add visual interest and a sense of movement.  There also could be a little sway in the folds of the cassock to add interest and movement.

One General Comment:  We were surprised to see that the posted photos, from which the artist was working, did not include any of the photos or sketches we put in our project booklet.  We were complemented on that work for how clearly it presented our vision for the statue.  It seems illogical that that “clear vision” is apparently not being used by the individual who needs it the most!  All of the issues we‘ve discussed in this response are clearly shown or discussed in our document.  

A Note to the Artist:  As you work on this piece, please think of standing right in front of Good Pope John talking with him about something very important to you.  He is advising you in his usual loving, pastoral way.  That is how we want him portrayed.  He is not giving you a formal blessing.  He is not preaching to you.  He is talking with you!  That is the experience we want for our parishioners each time they approach the statue.

 

Pope John XXIII Statue Project
Our Response to Second Clay Model

We have reviewed the photos the second clay model.  We understand that the work is still incomplete but we feel that comments on specific elements of the work are necessary.  Those comments follow:

Overall:  It is significantly improved from the first model.
 

The Face:  It is much better.  It is hard to tell without a more close-up photo but it looks more like what we wanted (more cheek and jowl, smile is better).  It still needs work.  Please refer to the planning document we provided.  Both the photo and the drawing on page 6. 

The Head (position):  It is good!  It is cocked a bit to the Pope’s right and down just a little.   Again, refer to page 6.   

The Head (size):  The head is better but now it looks to be a little too large.  This is very important to getting the height to weight ratio correct.  Refer to the sketch on page 3.

The Shoulders:  The shoulders are much improved.  The slope is better but the shoulders should be wider/thicker.  Refer to the photos on pages 4, 5, and 8 to see the much broader shoulders we want.

The Body (general):  It is much closer to what we want.  It could still be a little  wider, plumper.  See the sketch on page 3.  We really cannot overemphasize how much we want the reality of Pope John’s girth.  Read the paragraph on page 4 under “Size of Statue”.

The Body (chest and belly):  The chest and belly still need to be heavier than they are on the second clay piece.  Remember our discussions about how his cassock would hang out away from his feet.  Look at the photo on page 12.

The Feet:  The feet are much better not only in how much is showing but in positioning.  Again, refer to the photo on page 12.

The Right Hand:  We know that the hands on the clay piece are still very much unfinished but they still merit a comment.  We need the hands (especially the right hand) to be very expressive, more open and welcoming.  We’d like more “palm to the sky”.  Turn it to a more open position. More like the photos on p. 3 and p. 6 not like the picture on p.5

The Vestature:  Again, the vestature as depicted in the clay piece is good.

The Pectoral Cross:  The pectoral cross and chain is very good now.   

Sash and Cassock:  Improved.  The vertical section of the sash has a little curve or sway to it rather than hanging straight down.  There is also a little sway in the folds of the cassock now that add interest and movement.  There could be a little more.

A Comment on the Hands:  The hands are very important to this piece particularly the right hand.  The hands will be right in front of the parishioners as they approach and interact with the statue.

 

Pope John XXIII Sculpture Progress

The sculptor in Italy is almost finished with the life size wax. We should see pictures in two weeks or so. Again, if we request any changes they will be completed and new pictures will follow; we have to be completely satisfied before we authorize the next stage of the work. When the life size wax is perfect, a mold is made around it, the wax is melted out, and the molten bronze is poured in. This is called a “lost wax process.” We are on track for an early May delivery, and an early June unveiling and blessing ceremony.

These are the most recent pictures of the artistic process in making the Pope John XXIII sculpture.

The Final Sculpture