Cristiano Ronaldo “liked what he saw” and the artists’ Facebook friends have been largely positive about the work, according to the sculptor himself.
The images of Madeira’s most famous son and the bronze sculpture in ‘his image’ went viral on Wednesday after the bust’s unveiling at the new Cristiano Ronaldo International airport.
But artist Emmanuel Santos remains delighted with his creation and has shrugged off the online criticism.
“Even Jesus did not please everyone,” Santos said. “This is a matter of taste, it’s not as simple as it seems. “What matters is the impact that this work generates. There is always the possibility of making a difference.”
The bust has been attributed likenesses to a number of contrasting characters, from Niall Quinn to Raoul Moat, but Santos has explained that he used specific images of Ronaldo to create the work.
“I used photos of Cristiano Ronaldo and I searched the internet as a base. I put the photos next to me and started working on the bust. “Cristiano saw the photos that his brother sent him. I was with the brother at Cristiano’s museum in Madeira and, from the messages he sent, I could tell that he liked what he saw.”
Ronaldo was present on the day of the newly-named airport’s opening, where the ceremonial unveiling of the bust took place, but Santos says that he’d had to make a few superficial changes to his initial creation to satisfy the Real Madrid star’s vanity.
“He only asked for some wrinkles to be changed, that give him a certain expression in his face when he’s about to laugh. He said it made him look older and asked for it to be thinned out a bit to make it smoother and more jovial. But they gave it the go-ahead before they liked what they saw.”
So what of the negative comments? Have those proven a blow to the artists morale?
Not a bit of it.
“No negative comments have reached me yet. I’ve got friends on Facebook and the feedback has been positive. Of course there’s the odd comment from someone saying there’s room for improvement here or there. But it’s complicated and the end result is never going to please everyone.”
But Santos says that the one man whose opinion really matters, Ronaldo, spoke to him at the unveiling about how much he liked the work.
“Reproducing a public figure, and not just any public figure, is a complex task. When I arrived at the airport the bust had already been unveiled for the start of the ceremony. Cristiano was one of the last people to arrive but I spoke with him in the VIP room. I asked him what he thought of the result and he said he liked it.”
So there’s nothing to see here – the artist likes the work… and Cristiano likes it too.
Everyone else just needs to calm down.
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