Angel of the Citadel

by Gary Lehmann

IN 1949, when Peggy Guggenheim took over the unfinished
Palace of the Venier de Leoni on the Grand Canal in Venice,
she resolved to make her garden into public sculpture space,
a place of joy and beauty for the entire community.
Amongst her Arps, Brancusis and Calders, she mounted a piece
by Marino Marini of Milan which featured a horse and rider.
The rider sat holding his arms aloft as a signal of victory
and to add to his ascendancy, he sported a large erect penis.
The sculptor struggled to include this appendage in
the original casting, so he made it unscrewable.
Peggy regularly unscrewed the appurtenance out of deference
to the nuns who passed her house on a scheduled basis.
This habit lent the bronze penis a well-worn look
which gave rise to quite unfounded rumors.

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