Saturday, January 11, 2014

"HAHN/COCK" SCULPTURE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE


When I was in England in October, I went to Trafalgar Square to visit St Martin-in-the Fields Church and the National Portrait Gallery. The square was crowded with people, and there on one of the plinths was a new sculpture, and I thought, "What's with the big blue rooster?" Turns out the bird is a cockerel, a young male.  The cockerel sculpture, by German artist, Katharina Fritsch, is not a permanent fixture but will remain in its place of honor for 18 months. The big bird gave me a laugh, and when I went to Wikipedia for more information, I had another good laugh.
It was unveiled on 25 July 2013 by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. He pointed out the irony that the cockerel, an unofficial national emblem of France, was standing in a square commemorating a famous British victory over the French. Fritsch has said that she was unaware of the connection until it was explained to her. According to Fritsch, she chose the cockerel to represent strength and regeneration, "but it's a nice humorous side-effect to have something French in a place that celebrates victory over Napoleon. He has come back as a cockerel!" Johnson said in his speech that "I hope French people will not take it as excessive British chauvinism – but for me it stands for the recent British triumph in the Tour de France, which we have won twice in a row … it is a symbol of French sporting pride, brought like a chicken to London. We have mounted this French cock at the heart of our imperial square."
My picture of the blue cockerel sculpture in Trafalgar Square made me nostalgic for England. My friend Richard said the view down Whitehall to Parliament is one of the best, and I happened to snap the view while I was there.  In the distance, to the left of the Nelson column is Big Ben.

 
On the left is the well-known Horatio Nelson column topped by the statue of the great hero of the Napoleonic Wars.  The square is named after the Battle of Trafalgar, in which the British won the victory, but Nelson was killed.

Unfortunately, this picture shows the statue of Nelson and the equestrian figure of King George IV from the rear.  I believe I took the photos from the porch of the National Gallery.

On the right is the National Gallery museum of art, which I did not visit during my last trip.  I did pop in at the National Portrait Gallery around the corner, which is smaller and more manageable, to have another look at Jane Austen's portrait by her sister Cassandra and other treasures in the museum.