City fathers, yes, city mothers too, have options when it comes to installing or authorising public art. Heroic statues of kings, emperors, politicians and generals have long been standard fare.
Bratislava has its fair share of national heroes gracing the streets. But it has also more recently installed public art with obvious appeal to locals and visitors alike, your correspondent included.
Hans Christian Andersen once visited Bratislava (it was them known as Poszony) for a few days. When asked if he’d write anything about it, he is said to have replied, ‘If you want a fairytale, your town is a fairytale.’ Writers know how to suck up when there’s a chance of a free drink.
A colourful and popular Bratislava identity was known as ‘Schone Naci’, for his slightly sleazy habit of sidling up to attractive young women and politely muttering ‘Schone, schone!’ I believe it means ‘beautiful, beautiful!’ He passed away in the 1960s, but is now commemorated outside his favourite cafe.
These sculptures may not be outstanding art, but who cares? More cities could do worse than to commission cartoonists to come up with imaginative, entertaining, intriguing pieces to grace their public spaces.
And here’s that Napoleonic soldier again…with friends.