Statue of Lady Diana, Kensington Palace, England, unveiled 1 July, 2021
Move over, Robert Jacobsen: the title of Worst Sculptor in the World now passes to Ian Rank-Broadley, whose repulsive statue of Diana Spencer is scaring people. Stiff, awkward, vapid, completely lustreless, uncomfortably masculine and soapy in texture, the hulking, virtually generic Princess stands, surrounded by three kiddies, one lurking behind her recalling the artful dodger. She is wearing something from a discount couturière and has the casual indifference of smooth bronze. It is kitsch enough to be by Jeff Koons. Great sculpture entails inserting heart into stone or metal: this work fails on that level and more.
Carved in the plinth is a bowdlerised extract from the justly anonymous The Measure of a Man:
“These are the units to measure the worth
Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth.
Not what was her station?
But had she a heart?
How did she play her God-given part?”
Alexandros and Phidias, brought to Kensington by a time machine, would start, muffle a yelp of derisive laughter and turn to retch into the surrounding pleasant shrubbery.
‘These are the symbols so tired and worn
To render a crowded life as one still born.
By what earthly measure
For measure is apt?
From base to the crown upon which the birds crapp’d?’