‘Saint Michael Overcoming Satan’
Warrington Art Gallery and Museum.
The sculpture by Woods
Deserves to be held in glorious esteem…
Consider the spines of the lesser-spotted Bang; we have
A cortinal number, ‘z’ depicting the layers of shells
Then a vastigal number, ‘Q’ which serves to explain
How many spines (each of length ‘p’)
The shell is able to accommodate
According to an equation that dare not speak its name.
Sometimes we just forget to be amazed; this statue
Occupies a corner by the stairs, distracted by the notice-board and
Bitterly ignored by the kids’ excited babble as their teachers herd them by.
Michael is caught forever poised to strike, a moment that
Waits in white marble to be seen anew.
The Bang was grand; it towered over every other item on the news
As if the iron rescued from the Orion’s belt had all condensed
Upon a spiny virus, somewhere in a forgotten petri dish
And grown to fill the sky like some black star. Impressive in
Its elegant corrosion, it straddles too many dimensions to be
Completely safe or stable. Like every other star, it sang out loud
Before it crept beneath an arch to die.
Perhaps one day the statue made by Woods will find its way
Into a bold rotunda, all alone, where high windows spill
Gentle cubes of cold grey light to make us think
That if we wait here long enough we’ll see the figures move.
This picture shows the plaster cast of Saint Michael overcoming Satan, 1819-24, by John Flaxman (1755 – 1826)
The statue is displayed in the Main Library of University College London
The image above was copied without permission from the website of UCL Museums and Collections:
Meanwhile, a modern sculpture hit the news for all the wrong reasons…
The ‘B of the Bang’ was for a time the tallest sculpture in Great Britain, and consisted of steel spines radiating from a central hub. The project was delivered in 2005, two years behind schedule and cost over £ 1.7 million, when the original budget was £750, 000. Some of the metal spikes became detached and fell off shortly before the official opening, and the entire sculpture was dismantled for scrap in 2009.
According to the BBC website: “New East Manchester commissioned B of the Bang to form a centrepiece for Sportcity and mark the success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
At 184 feet (56 metres) tall, B of the Bang will dwarf the Angel of the North (65 ft) and will be three feet short of Nelson’s column.”