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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The cost of "Immortalising" Carla Bruni-Sarkozy - 90,000 euros

Have no fears, France's former first lady is not about to be elevated the Académie française - perish the thought.

Although perhaps it shouldn't be dismissed so easily.

After all some bright spark might well decide that France's former first lady has indeed been a true pioneer in the field of music and cinema and deserves appropriate recognition for her artistic contribution in much the same way as her husband has been a bringer of peace to the world with his name being submitted as a potential future candidate for the Nobel prize.

But that of course is another story.

No the "glorification" of Carla is in the form of a bronze statue to be unveiled in the eastern Parisian suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne.

The idea was "brainchild" of Jacques Martin, the mayor of the town - not the late television entertainer who was married to Sarkozy's second wife Cécila.

Sculptor Elisabeth Cibont (screenshot from Le Parisien video)

Martin wanted to pay tribute to the contribution the town's Italian community hade made and in particular immigrant Italian women who had worked in its factories over the decades, and he commissioned sculptor Elisabeth Cibont to produce a bronze.

All well and good only Martin, who also just happened to be a member for the same centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP)  as Bruni-Sarkozy's other half (who was president at the time, as if you needed reminding), wanted to fund the project from the public purse.

That didn't go down well with opposition parties on the local council who intepreted the whole idea as simple sycophancy on the part of Martin, a personal whim and a waste of money.

And when they discovered whose face would be portraying the "average Italian immigrant woman of the early 20th century" the "polemic" began.

Yep, you've guessed it; the former model-cum-singer-and-wannabee-actress-and-now-former-first-lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Martin was forced to split the cost of creating the magnificent two-metre bronze between public and private funding before Cibont was able to get on with her job.

As Cibont is keen to stress though, the whole "polemic" (there's that word again) surrounding "using" Bruni-Sarkozy as a model was completely inappropriate as far as she - an artist - was concerned.

"It's not a statue Carla, but of an Italian woman from the early part of the 20th century," she said.

"It a homage to those women," she continued.

"The only thing of course is that the the statue's face has been inspired directly by that of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy who, after all was born in Italy and as a consequence it gives a contemporary or up-to-date feeling to the bronze."

Oh right, yada, yada, yada. Bruni-Sarkozy is so typically representative of today's Italian woman just as much as she is of one from the early decades of the 20th century.

Don't you think?

You'll have to wait a while if you're desperate to see what €90,000 will buy you when it comes to a bronzed Carla.

The statue isn't due to be officially unveiled until September.

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