Controversial artist installs praying Hitler at Blenheim Palace

Controversial artist Maurizio Cattelan installs praying Hitler, squashed Pope, dangling horse and golden toilet in new show at Winston Churchill’s birthplace Blenheim Palace

  • Italian provocateur Maurizio Cattelan is notorious for his satirical sculptures of Hitler, the Pope and himself 
  • His most famous works have been placed in and around Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire for a solo art show 
  • Cattelan’s golden toilet entitled ‘America’ was installed at Guggenheim Museum and used by 100k people 

Controversial artist Maurizio Cattelan has put some of his most provocative pieces on display at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Often considered the enfant terrible of the contemporary art world, Cattelan is known across the globe for his satirical sculptures. 

The Italian provocateur has gained international notoriety for his models of a miniature, praying Hitler, a Pope being squashed by a meteorite and a solid gold, functioning toilet. 

After more than a 20-year absence from the UK art scene, he is back with a solo show at one of the most iconic locations imaginable. 

Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim will see his artwork placed in and around the historic palace and its grounds. 

Prankster of the art world Maurizio Cattelan has put on his first solo show in Britain in more than 20 years. His most controversial works have been placed in and around Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire to engage and contrast with its unique history. Pictured is his work ‘Victory Is Not An Option’, a giant walkway of Union Jack flags, placed at the entrance 

Pictured is Cattelan’s famous taxidermy horse ‘Novecento’ suspended from the ceiling of one of the portrait rooms 

Another highlight of Cattelan at Blenheim Palace is ‘America’, his  solid 18-Karat gold toilet, placed in a mystery location somewhere in the building. Over 100,000 people famously queued up at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2016 to use it 

Him, is a realistic model of a schoolboy version of Adolf Hitler on his knees praying. It has been placed in the organ room at Blenheim for visitors to see for themselves. The controversial work is one of many on show at Blenheim this autumn 

‘La Nona Ora’, translated as ‘the ninth hour’ is the name given to Cattelan’s realistic model of Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteorite. It is one of many controversial pieces placed in and around Blenheim Palace this autumn 

From his gigantic taxidermy horse suspended from the ceiling of one of the portrait rooms to a mini Hitler praying in front of an organ, the exhibition will also showcase never-before-seen pieces. 

Known for being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and the home of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, Blenheim, located in the Oxfordshire market town of Woodstock, is the only non-royal palace in Britain to have palatial status. 

The staggering 18th century building and grounds are steeped in history, which makes the contrast with Cattelan’s contemporary artwork all the more striking.

Those planning to visit this autumn will get to see ‘America’, the famous 18-karat gold toilet Cattelan had installed in the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016. 

‘We’ is a life-sized double bed, with two realistic models of Maurizio Cattelan lying on top. Short for ‘We Are The Revolution’, the work is now available for the public to see inside Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill 

A Blenheim Palace visitor is pictured walking past ‘Ego’, Cattelan’s taxidermy crocodile, which has been suspended from the ceiling of one of the portrait rooms in the Oxfordshire manor house 

‘Others’ is an installation of 200 taxidermy birds created by Cattelan. They have been arranged on a marble statue inside Blenheim Palace as part of his first UK solo art show in more than 20 years 

Blenheim Palace: National treasure given to 1st Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne for beating the French

Known for being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and the home of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, Blenheim, located in the Oxfordshire market town of Woodstock, is the only non-royal palace in Britain to have palatial status.

The staggering 18th century building and grounds are steeped in history, which makes the contrast with Cattelan’s contemporary artwork all the more striking.

It had been a gift from Queen Anne to the 1st Duke of Malborough, the military commander who led troops to a victory over the French in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.

It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh in the English Baroque style with a chapel.

During its construction the Palace was subject to political infighting over costs, as well as reported arguments between the Duchess and Vanbrugh over the style and design. 

It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

At his exhibition there in 2011 he had insisted everything was suspended upside down, adding the fully-functioning toilet five years later, which drew queues of 100,000 desperate to use it themselves. 

Another of his notable works being displayed at Blenheim is La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), a waxwork model of Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteorite. 

Visitors who want to see Blenheim’s famous organ will now be met with ‘Him’, Cattelan’s infamous model of a boy-sized Adolf Hitler, wearing a full suit and praying on his knees. 

Also on show are ‘We’, short for ‘We Are The Revoltuion’, which is made up of two self-portrait sculptures laid in a double bed, and ‘Daddy Daddy’ a large model of the Disney character Pinocchio drowning in the lake outside. 

Cattelan is also a big fan of taxidermy, with some of his 2,000 stuffed pigeons placed on a marble statue inside the palace this autumn.

Visitors will also be unable to miss the huge horse and crocodile suspended from the ceiling of two of the rooms. 

Speaking to the Art newspaper, Cattelan revealed he had been sitting on an invitation to do a UK show again for some time before he finally accepted. 

But when Donald Trump made his first visit to the UK last year, he admitted ‘he could not be outdone’. 

Describing his decision to take on the monumental historical context, he said: ‘Old houses are always full of furniture and ghosts, and the only way to deal with them is to enter into a relationship; you can’t avoid or ignore them, because you are the intruder, not vice-versa.’

And on his reputation as a provocateur, he added: As an artist, nuances are your duty. You should avoid making things easy. 

‘You should aim at suggesting contradictions: don’t erase it or deny it, but let it in and embrace it. Otherwise you’re making propaganda and product distribution, and that’s equal to the death of the art.’  

‘Daddy Daddy’ is a large model of the Disney character Pinocchio half submerged in a lake in the grounds at Blenheim. It is designed to look as though he is drowning. It is captured as a rainbow forms above him 

‘Untitled’ is Cattelan’s miniature replica of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Vatican City. The Italian artist’s version has been placed inside Blenheim Palace as part of his new exhibition 

A wider shot of ‘Him’, Cattelan’s model of a young Hitler knelt down in prayer, shows it underneath a gigantic organ at Blenheim

A close-up shows double self-portrait models of controversial artist Maurizio Cattelan in a bed inside Blenheim Palace 

‘Glory Glory Hallelujah’ is another fascinating Cattelan piece on display at Blenheim, made up of three horse skulls wearing gold armour 

Maurizio Cattelan: Artist who lampooned Hitler and the Pope and made 100,000 queue for the toilet 

Pictured: Maurizio Cattelan at Monanie de Paris in 2016 

Maurizio Cattelan is one of the most controversial contemporary artists of our time, notorious for his satirical sculptures and provocative installations. 

Now 58 and living and working in New York City, he was born in 1960 in Padua, Italy. 

He began his artistic career in his twenties, making wooden furniture in the Italian city of Forli in the 1980s.

One of his earliest pieces, a sign of things to come, was an ostrich with its head buried in the ground, made to look like Pablo Picasso and taped to a wall of a Milan art gallery. 

He first achieved worldwide notoriety in 1999 when he revealed his work La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour)  a wax statue of Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteorite.   

In 2011 he caused further controversy with ‘others’ a collection of 2,000 stuffed pigeons, presented at the 54th Venice Biennale art exhibition.

It was in this year that he had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where all his pieces were suspended from the ceiling. 

After roaring success, five years later in 2015, Cattelan decided to replace one of the toilets in the museum with a fully-functioning replica made of 18-karat gold.

More than 100,000 people queued to use it.  Among his other notable works are ‘Him’, a wax model of a schoolboy version of Hitler kneeling on the floor in prayer and his many taxidermy pieces, including an entire horse and crocodile suspended upside down from the ceiling.  

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