Given my theme in the preceding days about regrettable pieces of sculpture, I wanted to allow my readers the dubious pleasure of considering perhaps one of the most frightening pieces of sculpture ever produced, and a family favorite of ours for the purpose of discussion and striking fear into the heart of one’s sibling. That piece is “The Motherland Calls” by Russian sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich, which stands in Volgograd, as part of a monumental complex marking the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. One could make comparisons of this piece to other giant sculptures such as the somewhat disturbingly masonic Statue of Liberty in New York, or the appalling “Cosmoplanetary Messiah” in France which (mercifully) is now a pile of rubble, but truthfully there is nothing like this concrete behemoth to be found elsewhere on the planet.
The ginormous figure of a bellicose woman wielding a sword stands 279 feet tall from its plinth to the tip of its upraised sword. It is quite literally the height of totalitarian socialist propaganda art, a giant graphic novel drawing come horribly to life. The photo below, showing ant-like people at the base, gives some idea of the terrifying scale of the piece. Recent reports indicate that it is beginning to sink into its artificial hill at the rate of about eight inches a year, due to poor engineering (it was originally intended to be half its current size) and that it may collapse without intervention. I am not sure this would be such a bad thing, though sometimes one has to consider whether awful curiosities such as this should be preserved as a sort of cautionary tale in stone and concrete.
I would be very curious if any of my readers have been to see this sculpture, and to learn their impressions of it.