Billboard art depicting famous sculpture painted over
- Credit: Simon Parkin
Graffiti images of a nude couple engaged in a passionate embrace added to Norwich roadside billboards have been painted over.
The pictures depicting French artist Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture of two lovers were added to empty advertising hoardings on Dereham Road.
The Kiss, Rodin’s three times life-size marble sculpture, is renowned as one of the frankest and most popular images of sexual love in the history of art.
Lucy Galvin, city councillor for the Nelson Ward, said mystery surrounded who had painted over the depictions or whether it was because the pictures had caused offence.
She said the council had not painted over it.
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“It’s sad that it is being painted out because I think it was a piece of local art,” she said.
Six versions of the couple and the word ‘kiss’ were spray painted on two empty billboard hoardings on land at the junction of Dereham Road and Douro Place.
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They had drawn admiration from some passing drivers who posted praise on social media before the images were painted over in the past week.
“I think it is a shame because I thought they were a wonderful use of advertising space,” said Mrs Galvin.
Earlier this summer Norwich City councillors unanimously backed a motion to work with other organisations to phase out advertising for gambling, alcohol, junk food and environmentally damaging products around the city.
Green Party councillor Mrs Galvin said: “This local piece of art is one of the best responses to these huge ugly hoardings I have seen.
“Billboards are a waste of precious space. I would support these areas, rather than the advertising of products that no-one really needs or wants, being used for something more useful, whether that be art or things like housing, cycle paths or community gardens.”
Rodin’s now world-famous sculpture dates back to 1882 but a copy was commissioned in 1911 by Edward Warren, an eccentric wealthy American who owned a grand house at Lewes in East Sussex.
Seen as scandalous by local residents, it spent decades in storage, with a blanket over the heads of the lovers.
In 1955 the Tate bought the sculpture for the nation.