The Angel of Peace. Her golden wings have flapped ineffectively since 1899, when the Munich city fathers screwed her to a column in the überspiessig suburb of Bogenhausen. That makes the Angel of Peace—in German, der Friedensengel—a neighbour of ours.
Her day job doesn't tax her very much. She reminds us of a warless quarter-century after the Franco-Prussian war. German kingdoms fought shoulder-to-shoulder, and repelled the armies of Napoleon III in a spat over who would be the King of Spain.
The creation of a strong, united Germany out of many disparate monarchies changed the political landscape forever. A strong, united Germany would ensure peace for generations. Wouldn't it?
In truth, the now-beloved Angel was a bit of PR window dressing. Coming together as a nation put Bavarian troops under Prussian orders for the first time. This humiliated the Bavarians, and reminded them that their king, the notorious Ludwig II, was unfit to command. The Angel told Müncheners that they should view this new state of affairs as just peachy.
Nowadays, we've forgotten all that. Müncheners love the Angel for her beauty, and who can argue with the message? "Her angel wings seem to reflect the golden light of an early morning sunrise. Poised in grace and tranquility, [the Angel] can serve as a reminder to seek peace and calm." So says Horst Kohl in his authoritative Bismarck and the Creation of the Second Reich the blurb for the Angel of Peace Barbie® .
The good burghers of Munich, after a schnapps or three, sometimes take the piss out of our poor angel. Especially around Karneval time, or as we say in Bavaria, Fasching.
Last year, a few tipsy sculptors made a Schneeengel tribute on the plaza before her. It proved such a hit, that they came back in 2013. This time, they made the tribute grander.
Look at the size of that gal! The Tagezeitung wonders if this is not the work of American snow-artist Ignacio Marc Aspera, since his technique allows for exceptionally high snow-sculpture. They dismiss this speculation in short order. Frankly, neither the art or the engineering is up to scratch.
The lady's weak engineering begins to show. How un-German!
But let's celebrate her strengths rather than criticize her weaknesses. Some rascals added amusing details. The original bears a rose in her right hand, and it looks like the snowy tribute as dropped it. Or simply a Valentine's gift scorned?
The sun may soon do the snowplow's job. A sign on her back urges caution in the face of collapse (literally, the signwriter warns us of avalanche). But until then, she remains another of Munich's curious popular tributes, which take over public spaces.
On the last day of Benedict's Papacy, dammit if someone didn't turn our angel into the Pope.
The sculptor remains anonymous, but he's now left a clue. His Snowliness wears a mitre fashioned from a cardboard box. That cardboard box once contained a Liebherr 2321-23 model upright freezer.