Out with the mold

Dear Ace: The Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park looks kinda weather-beaten. Any plans to restore it? Or does its original artistic effect only make it appear weather-beaten? Well, think about it.—Warren Torne

Warren: Don’t you worry. Ace is definitely thinking about it. [Nods reassuringly, walks away to procure snack.]

Ah, Ace kids. While he does enjoy an afternoon nosh, his first priority has always been answering your questions, dear readers. With that in mind, he called city spokesman Ric Barrick to get some concrete answers.

Unfortunately, Ric told Ace that there are no plans to restore the statue of General Lee. There are, however, plans to move the Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea statue on Ridge/McIntire and do some general maintenance on it, meanwhile restructuring the intersection for better traffic flow. But, at this point, Ric says there aren’t enough “monies” in the budget, save what’s set aside in the event of graffiti, to spruce up more than one statue.

As an art historian in a past life, Ace (while doing some research) was interested to learn that the Lee statue actually had two contributors.

The first artist, Henry Shrady, was commissioned in 1917, but took more than two years to complete even the miniature mock-up of his creation. After he died in 1922 with nothing more than a canvas-covered model to show for his labor, artist Leo Lentelli took over the work. Seven years after it was commissioned, the bronze statue was completed.

So, the answer to your second question, friend, is this: As tempting as it is to take the weather-beaten look to be the wacked-out product of mixed-up minds, the intention of either artist certainly could not have been to incorporate what Ace can only describe as mold-colored matter.

Of course, as every learned art historian knows, these things can never be fully resolved. It is up to the viewer to interpret. So maybe it is you, Warren, who should do the thinking.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to ace@c-ville.com.

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