Truth comes out of the Bushes

by The Curious Scribbler

Just occasionally, life imitates fiction with the well-turned symmetry of a good short story.

When I started writing about the Aberystwyth’s war memorial I drew only upon my own imagination in describing the striking nude at the foot of the column as “a naked woman emerging from a thicket”.

Since then I have searched the internet for similar images using various search engines and search terms, and at last my quest bore results, in the form of pictures on the website of a professional conservationist and restorer in Rome.  Here was the self same girl!

Two views of Rutelli’s sculpture  “Verità esce dai Rovi” which stands in a courtyard in Rome. Photo: Marco Demmelbauer, before restoration

Marco Demmelbauer  tells me that he worked on this Rutelli sculpture many years ago. It is privately owned and can be seen in the courtyard of an apartment block, at Via Quattro Fontane n.18  in Rome.  The sculpture has a name too!  Not quite “Humanity emerging from the Horrors of War”, but  “Verità esce dai rovi”,   which translates as “Truth comes out of the bushes”.  I feel vindicated indeed!

It now seems clear that our Aberystwyth war memorial sculptures are from re-used moulds, and have elder sisters elsewhere in Europe.   In my last blog I pointed out that the Winged Victory by Rutelli on top of our memorial had already been poised on a monument in Palermo since 1911.  I am grateful to Marco Demmelbauer for pointing out that she also stands on the right hand column in front of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II in  Rome.  This also dates from 1911.

The same Winged vistory as we have in Aberystwyth

Winged Victory by Rutelli on a column in front of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome
Photo: Marco Demmelbauer

Winged Victories were not however the sole preserve of a single artist.  The original Victory ( the Goddess Nike) was discovered in 1863 in Samothrace, and is one of the great treasures of the Louvre.  She was fashioned in Parian marble about 190 BC.  A few extra fragments of her, the right hand, a finger tip and thumb have turned up, but her arms and head being missing has left scope for the re-interpretation of the figure in the late 19th and 20th centuries.  Rather remarkably the two tall Roman columns bear two different Winged Victories, one by Mario Rutelli and the other by another sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi.

Winged Victory by Zocchi on the other column in front of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome.
Photo: Marco Demmelbauer

It seems that there were certain criteria for these turn-of-the-century Nikes.   Unlike Truth/Humanity, a Winged Victory is modest, her long draperies rippling in a strong breeze, and she holds aloft the laurel wreath of victory.  She stands upon a sphere, and carries some kind of object in her other hand. Here the interpretations vary, Zocchi provides a sheathed weapon, Rutelli some kind of foliage.

Winged Victories by Rutelli and by Zocchi on columns in front of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome.
Photo: Marco Demmelbauer

Exactly whose influence led to Rutelli tendering a design for a war memorial  utilising two of his pre-existing works for the Borough of Aberystwyth has yet to be revealed, but my guess is that Lord Ystwyth had a good deal to do with it.


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2 thoughts on “Truth comes out of the Bushes

  1. Having recently been in Louvre admiring the ancient Winged Victory there (and how very splendid it is in its commanding position, where it can be seen from many different angles and vistas), I was very interested in this entry about the genre.

  2. Mario Rutelli, the author of all the art pieces described in this interesting site, was son of arch. chevalier Giovanni Rutelli and of Vita Romano;
    prof. arch. chevalier Mario Rutelli, a famous italian sculptor artist, is the author of hundreds of art pieces placed in Italy, Sicily, England, and Germany;
    his paternal line (the Rutellis) is a very very old – true british isle celtic line (R/DF21 haplogroup) which came into the italian peninsula many centuries ago (about 1300 to 1400 years ago), and this is confirmed by multiple dna testings;
    for infact, Mario Rutelli’s ancestral experience with his art shows altogether this very deep patrilineal connection with the British Isles, and his authentic – british isle celtic- art capacities present and alive in his dna, as well as for many other Rutelli artists of the same old family;


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