The public and the sculptor agree: it’s a bust. It’s just that they disagree on what they mean by that word.
A bronze statue of Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled this week in the soccer superstar’s hometown of Madeira, Portugal, at an airport that has been renamed in his honour.
But instead of capturing Ronaldo’s je ne sais quoi, artist Emanuel Santos has created an I-don’t-know-what.
Where Ronaldo has a strong jaw, piercing, wide-set eyes and confident grin, Mr. Santos’s bust has a pointy chin, eyes so close they almost touch, and a weird, lopsided smirk.
The end result is not the face of a soccer legend so much as the face of someone who just asked you to pull his finger.
The good people of the internet took notice, and the bust has become a viral meme. People have compared it to the bust from the British TV show Art Attack, the robot cabbie from Total Recall and the Sloth from Goonies.
Ronaldo bust has been Photoshopped it onto Star Wars‘ Han Solo frozen in carbonite and The Dark Knight‘s Two-Face. Many have taken to Photoshopping onto Ronaldo himself.
Of course, it’s not the first statue to to become an internet sensation.
In 2015, a life-sized statue of I Love Lucy actress Lucille Ball was revealed in Celoron, N.Y., but — much to the amusement of the internet, and the chagrin of local residents — it looked more like actor Steve Buscemi.
“All of a sudden over the last month or so, [the statue] became this controversial and somewhat disrespectful representation of who Lucille Ball really was,” Tom Benson, chairman of the National Comedy Center, which adopted “Scary Lucy,” told As It Happens at the time.
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But Ronaldo sculptor Emanuel Santos has vehement defended his artistry, and used some lofty comparisons to do it.
He told the Guardian: “It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone.”