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Queens Chronicle

What ‘Civic Virtue’ signifies

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Can we stop already with the “Civic Virtue” bashing and hysteria? Did someone just wake up after 100 years and decide this would be a good pot stirrer and waste of time effort and taxpayer money to remove it? Or was it the tens of thousands of ladies who pass the statue daily and are aghast and appalled by it? (not!) Did you do all your due diligence before the uproar?

We need a quick history lesson. The statue was designed by Frederick MacMonnies and sculpted by the Piccirilli Brothers (of the Bronx, by the way). It came to Queens in 1941 as a gift from then-Mayor LaGuardia to the borough when the “new” Borough Hall was opened.

Of course the common misconception and the rally cry is that the male figure is stepping or trampling on two women. But degrading women is not what it represents. The female figures are not even human women! It is symbolism and mythology in the purest of art form as in classical art and sculpture (c’mon ladies, get your “Da Vinci Code” hats on!). Symbolism is not so cut and dry! The figures are akin to the sirens of Greek mythology — dangerous and devious creatures, portrayed as femme fatales who lured sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck. Since vice and corruption are “dangerous and devious” ... get it? They were also portrayed (like here) as one half woman half serpent.

Hey gals, remember back in February you got a real boost when Rep. Anthony Weiner wanted to sell the statue on Craig’s List, because it was “sexist”? ’Nuff said!

Art is open to interpretation. Leave it alone already.

JC Makowski

Welcome to the discussion.