One of Scotland’s leading artists has said he hopes a new statue of Charles Rennie Mackintosh will help Glasgow move on from the devastating fire which destroyed the celebrated architect’s best known building.
Sculptor Andy Scott was today joined by Nicola Sturgeon to dedicate a bronze likeness of Mackintosh, which stands 2.8m tall and weighs three tons.
The sculpture was originally intended to be the “icing on the cake” of a year of events planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the architect, who was a pioneering influence in Europe’s art nouveau movement.
But those plans were soured in June when the Mackintosh building at Glasgow School of Art was reduced to a burnt out shell during the second blaze to devastate the site.
Mr Scott, whose other public works include The Kelpies, was commissioned to create what is thought to be the first ever public sculpture of Mackintosh more than three years ago.
It stands at a prominent junction in the Anderston district of Glasgow and marks the completion of a £60m project to deliver social housing in the area.
“I had hoped the statue would be the icing on the cake after a year of celebration,” Mr Scott told The Scotsman.
“I can only hope it will be seen as a bright spot in a very dark year. (The art school fire) was an absolute tragedy and we need to move on from it. I just hope this statue will inspire people to move on with optimism and pay tribute to Mackintosh’s achievements.”
The sculpture was commissioned by Sanctuary Housing Association, which worked with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to deliver a 10-year project to transform Anderston.
The First Minister described the statue as “stunning”.
“This year, we have been marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh,” she said in a speech. “It has been marked by real sadness and tragedy, but this is a very special and fitting way to bring the anniversary year to a close.
“There’s no doubt that Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of Glasgow’s favourite sons - an iconic architect, designer and artist. This statue is a fitting tribute to him, his work and his legacy.”
Mr Scott, whose mother was brought up in Anderston, said he hoped the community would identify with the artwork and take pride in it.
“Even when I was a wee boy, the area looked nothing like when my mum was living in Anderston. What they’ve done here is fantastic.
“Nearly all of my work is very public. I try to make things that communities can identify with and feel a sense of pride in.”