Stumped? Public art plan for historic garden square

Saturday, 17th March 2018

Bronze Oak Grove Berkeley Square

How the ‘Bronze Oak Grove’ tree stumps could look if they are installed in Berkeley Square

TWO bids to bring public art to a historic garden square are on the desks of council officials.

Spanish artist Manolo Valdes’ bronze sculpture of Reina Mariana, a famous artwork by Diego Velázquez which hangs in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, is set to be installed in Berkeley Square.

The installation, in connection with the Opera Gallery, is due to be in place for six months.

“I can’t remember how many times I looked at Reina Mariana by Velázquez at the Prado,” said Mr Valdes.

Manolo Valdes’ Reina Mariana sculpture

“Every time I return to view it, she challenges me to be part of the historical conversation about her. I love Picasso, Matisse and many others including pop artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein. I would not have been able to turn a life-size 17th-century painted head into a big sculpture unless pop art had shown me how to do it.”

Meanwhile, Westminster City Council has also been asked to approve plans for “Bronze Oak Grove” – described in the application for planning consent as “a circular grove comprised of nine identical tree stumps”.

The stumps represent those drawn by Dutch painter Jacob de Gheyn II in 1600.

“It is envisaged the sculpture will be used in an educational manner with members of the public able to interact with the sculpture, using them as seats, standing on them and generally interacting with them in a physical as well as visual sense,” the application says.

It was previously installed in Kensington Square Gardens.

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