Object Details

Oedipus

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Location

Street:Broyle Road
Town:Chichester
Parish:Chichester
Council:Chichester District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:None
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Outside building
Access is:Public
Location note:On the patio of the Minerva Theatre, Oaklands Park.
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:140
Grid reference:C6
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : Trude Bunzl
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: Minerva Theatre
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Minerva Theatre
Object listing:Not listed
Description:A lifesize statue of Oedipus with bald head raised skywards and depicting his
Iconographical description:Oedipus was the son of Laios and Iocasta. Before his birth, it was prophesied that he would murder his father and marry his mother. To avoid this calamity, the child's feet were tied together and pierced with a stake (which caused him to have permanently swollen feet – hence one meaning of Oedipus which translates to ''swollen foot''; it also comes from the Greek root meaning knowledge). He was then given to a herdsman who was told to kill him. The herdsman, out of pity and yet fearing to disobey, instead gave him to another herdsman. The second herdsman took the infant Oedipus to his master, the king of Corinth, Polybus, who adopted him as his own son. Oedipus then lived as the crowned prince of Corinth. Many years later, Oedipus is told that he is not the real son of Polybus and, to confirm this, he seeks help from an Oracle and is told that he is destined to kill his father and mate with his mother. In his attempt to evade the dictates of the Oracle, he decides to flee from home to Thebes, on the other side of the mountains. As Oedipus was travelling by horse to Thebes, he came to a crossroads where he met a chariot, which, unbeknown to him, was driven by a man called Laius. A dispute arose over right of way and the outcome was that Oedipus killed Laius. Continuing his journey to Thebes, Oedipus encountered a Sphinx, who stopped any traveller and asked him a riddle that none had yet been able to solve. If the traveller failed, he was eaten by the Sphinx, if he succeeded, he would be able to continue with his journey. The riddle was: ''What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night?''. The answer was: ''Man; as an infant, he crawls on all fours, as an adult, he walks on two legs and, in old age, he relies on a walking stick''. Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx threw herself to her death, letting him go. The gratitude of the Thebans led them to appoint Oedipus as their true king. Oedipus was also given the recent widow Jocasta as his wife. Over the years, Oedipus and Jocasta had four children: two sons, Polynices and Eteocles (see Seven Against Thebes), and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. Many years after the marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta, a plague struck the city of Thebes. Oedipus, with his typical hubris, asserted that he could, and would, end the plague. He sent Creon, Jocasta's brother, to the Oracle at Delphi, seeking guidance, and found that the murderer of the former king Laius must be found and either killed or exiled. In a search for the identity of the killer, Oedipus sends for the blind prophet, Tiresias, who warns him not to try to find the killer. In an angry exchange, Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the killer and suggests that he is living in shame and doesn't know who his true parents are. Undaunted, Oedipus continues his search. When a messenger arrives from Corinth with the news that king Polybus is dead, Oedipus still regarding Polibus as his true father, worries about the part of the prophecy that dictates he will mate with his own mother. The messenger reassures him with the news that he is adopted. Jocasta then realizes who Oedipus is and goes into the palace to kill herself. Oedipus seeks verification of the messenger's story from the very same herdsman who was to have left Oedipus to die as a baby. From that herdsman, Oedipus learns that the infant raised as the adopted son of Polybus and Merope was the son of Laius and Jocasta. Thus, Oedipus finally realizes that earlier at the crossroads, he had killed his own father, king Laius, and as consequence, had married his own mother, Jocasta. Oedipus goes in search of Jocasta and finds she has killed herself. Taking brooches from her gown, Oedipus blinds himself. Oedipus leaves the city and his daughter Antigone acts as his guide as he wanders blindly through the country, ultimately dying at Colonus, after being placed under the protection of Athens by Theseus, its king. (Wikipedia)
Inscription:Bronze plaque affixed to the wall at the back of the statue, raised letters:

OEDIPUS
TRUDE BUNZL

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Sculptural
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Standing
Subject type2:Mythological
     Subject subtype1:Standing

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Object Parts

Part 1:Statue
     Material:Bronze, patinated blue/green
     Height (cm):195
     Width (cm):70
     Depth (cm):50

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Date of on-site inspection:22/10/2008

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History

History:Chichester Festival Theatre started as the brainchild of local ophthalmic Leslie Evershed-Martin. He got the idea in 1959 when he watched a television programme about the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Stratford, Ontario - built on the edge of a city, in a park. He decided there should be such a theatre in Chichester and set about raising the £105,000 needed to build the theatre by means of private fundraising, public subscription and commercial sponsorship. Evershed-Martin wrote to Sir Laurence Olivier, who at that point was working in the USA, and asked him to become involved in the project. After some discussion between the two, it was decided that Olivier would become the Festival Theatre's inaugural Artistic Director. It was Olivier's vision that the theatre would produce several shows to run in repertoire sharing the same ensemble cast. And so it was that the theatre opened in 1962 with a 'festival' of three shows which were to run for three weeks (see a list of past productions) - hence Festival Theatre and Festival Season. Between '62 and '65 Olivier established a company of actors and other theatre practitioners at Chichester which provided the nucleus of his National Theatre Company. As the Festival Theatre became more established, some of the actors wanting to do more daring and challenging work effectively started their own fringe festival in the form of the New Ventures project at the Dolphin and Anchor Hotel. These impromptu performances grew in scale and moved into a large marquee, known as The Tent, opposite the Festival Theatre. It was the work of these actors which prompted the creation of the Minerva Theatre which stands today on The Tent's old site and keeps alive its tradition of exploring new and exciting work. The Minerva Theatre itself opened in April 1989 under the direction of Sam Mendes, after a successful fundraising campaign including a donation of £500,000 from a local businessman.
(http://www.cft.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=1107)

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References


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Photographs


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