She’s not looking at me; she’s looking through me.
The ”Imperia” statue stands 9 metres (30 feet) tall at the end of a pier in Lake Constance and is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city of Konstanz (Constance). The naked figures at left and right resemble the Emperor Sigismund and Pope Martin the Fifth, respectively. Peter Lenk’s sculpture memorializes the Council of Constance (1411-1414) which brought together Catholic church leaders from around Europe to decide once and for all a single pope from three during the Papal Schism. With many church leaders and support staff gathered in the city, there was great opportunity to tempt and satiate the flesh with an equal gathering of courtesans, as symbolized by Imperia. However, Lenk references Honoré de Balzac’s short story “La Belle Impéria” (Beautiful Imperia), whose historical character was a well-read Italian courtesan who never visited Konstanz and died almost 100 years after the Council of Constance.
The caption accompanying the statue reads:
“Römische Lebedame und Muse. Skulptur 9 m hoch, 18 to schwer. Erbaut 1993 vom Bodmaner Bildhauer Peter Lenk nach einer Geschichte von Honoré de Balzac über das Konstanzer Konzil, 1414-1418.” (Fremden-Verkehrsverein Konstanz e.V.)
I made both images on 21 September 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e7o.