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New Melania Trump statue feels incredibly familiar

A bronze statue of Melania Trump has been branded 'hideous' as it joins a long list of monuments dedicated to a celebrities or deities that bear little relation to their muses
The new bronze statue bears striking resemblance to everyone’s favourite botched art restoration dubbed ‘Monkey Christ’ (Picture: AFP/Centro de Estudi)

A bronze statue of Melania Trump has been branded ‘hideous’ as it joins a long list of monuments dedicated to a celebrities or deities that bear little relation to their muses.

The new sculpture, erected close to her hometown of Sevnica in Slovenia, is a replica of a wooden effigy of the first lady that was torched by arsonists on July 4 – Independence Day in the US.

Created by Slovenian artist Ales ‘Maxi’ Zupevc, the misshapen figure appeared to show Trump wearing the iconic blue Ralph Lauren dress she wore at her husband’s 2017 presidential inauguration.

It featured a round wooden face, with stern eyes carved off-centre, a wonky flattened nose, thin lips, and a very long chin. Some may argue that it bears a striking resemblance to a botched restoration of Spanish masterpiece ‘Ecce Homo’ (Behold the Man), which has since affectionately been re-named ‘Monkey Christ’.

A picture taken on July 5, 2019 shows what conceptual artist Ales 'Maxi' Zupevc claims is the first ever monument of Melania Trump, set in the fields near town of Sevnica, US First Ladys hometown.
It bears no obvious relation to Melania Trump (Picture: AFP)
US President Donald J. Trump (L) First Lady Melania Trump (R) wave goodbye to supporters after watching the Inaugural Parade after Trump took the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2017.
The artist took inspiration from the first lady’s look at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration (Picture: EPA)

After it was burnt down, US artist Brad Downey was called in to recreate the work in bronze and the finished product was unveiled on Tuesday. A plaque next to it says it is ‘dedicated to the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location.’

But critics are less than impressed by the latest lumpy statue, which bears no obvious relation to Trump, and has no facial features. It has been described as ‘terrifying’, a ‘piece of s**t’ and that it ‘looks like a kindergartner drew it’.

‘Just as hideous as the first one. What an “honor”,’ wrote one Reddit user, to which another responded: ‘I thought the first one was satire.’

‘The ugly statue of Melania Trump has been replaced with an ugly copy, this time in bronze,’ another said on Twitter, while one said burning the original ‘actually improved it last time’.

A picture taken on July 5, 2019 shows what conceptual artist Ales 'Maxi' Zupevc claims is the first ever monument of Melania Trump, set in the fields near town of Sevnica, US First Ladys hometown.
The first statue was burnt down on July 4 (Picture: AFP)
epa08671043 Unvailing of the statue from US First Lady Melania Trump by artists Bred Downey (unseen) and Ales 'Maxi' Zupevc (L) at her birthplace in Sevnica, Slovenia, 15 September 2020. The Old wooden statue of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump was burned on 4th July 2020.
Artist Ales ‘Maxi’ Zupevc believes his original statue was the first made in the first lady’s honour (Picture: EPA)
Statue of Cristiano Ronaldo at the ceremony at Madeira Airport to rename it Cristiano Ronaldo Airport on March 29, 2017 in Santa Cruz, Madeira, Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo fans weren’t too happy with his statue (Picture: Getty)

Another mocked: ‘I think the message is: “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I got the gig, so here goes”.’

It’s not the first time a celebrity or a deity has received a botched statue or portrait in their honour.

Cristiano Ronaldo fans were left reeling after a statue of the forward’s face was given pride of place in Madeira Airport, Portugal, in 2017. It was unveiled as part of a ceremony naming the airport in his native region after him.

The tribute left people across the world scratching their heads, but sculptor Emanuel Santos insisted his work was just ‘a matter of taste’.

Meanwhile, Spain has an unfortunate track record of botched attempts to restore art masterpieces.

Elias Garcia Martinez fresco 'Ecce Homo' or 'Monkey Christ'.
The restoration of Ecce Homo, dubbed ‘Monkey Christ’, became a global laughing stock (Picture: Camera Press/Centro de Estudi)
A bronze replica depicting US First Lady Melania Trump, made by US artist Brad Downey, is seen after its unveiling in a field near US First Lady's hometown Sevnica, on September 15, 2020.
The latest bronze statue has been called ‘hideous’ and ‘terrifying’ (Picture: AFP)

The most infamous is perhaps the attempt to clean up the Ecce Homo or Monkey Christ.

In 2012, the small north-eastern Spanish town of Borja made headlines across the world after a parishioner attempted to restore Elías García Martínez’s work, painted in 1930.

But Jesus’ face came back blurry and resembling a cross between a potato and a monkey, said critics.

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