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Saturday March 23, 2013

Adopting gargoyles

They may look beastly, but gargoyles too could do with a little TLC. MILAN cathedral, the Duomo, has launched a campaign to put its gargoyles up for adoption to help raise the 25mil (RM104mil) needed to clean up the landmark monument, as culture budgets take a hit from the economic crisis.

A total of 135 gargoyles are up for adoption, and donors who cough up more than 100,000 (RM416.07mil) will have their name engraved under the gargoyle. Smaller donations of between 10 (RM42)and 100 (RM420) can be made through the campaign’s website at http://adottaunaguglia.duomomilano.it.

The pink marble Gothic cathedral, which dates back to 1387, is a much-loved symbol of the city but has to be cleaned regularly because of pollution. Gargoyles, which are used as drains for rain water, are typical of Gothic architecture and usually depict grotesque figures.

The cathedral’s management said it wanted “to encourage the Milanese and citizens of the world as a whole to be protagonists in the history of the cathedral ... a priceless treasure that belongs to all of humanity.”

Contacted by AFP, cathedral authorities said since the launch of the campaign last month they had received eight donations of 100,000, as well as several smaller donations for a total of 10mil (RM41.61mil).

Culture has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the financial crisis in Italy. The Italian state allocates just 0.21% of its budget to culture, even though it holds half of the world’s cultural heritage. − AFP

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