Entertainment & Arts

Europe, Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg

The Imperia is a statue at the entrance of the harbour of Konstanz, Germany, commemorating the Council of Constance that took place there between 1414 and 1418. The concrete statue is 9 metres high, weighs 18 tonnes, and stands on a pedestal that rotates around its axis once every four minutes. It was created by Peter Lenk and erected in 1993. The Imperia shows a woman holding two men on her hands. The two men represent Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund. Martin V was elected during the Council while Sigismund was the king who called the council. Both are naked except for the crown and papal tiara, respectively, they wear as symbols of their power. The statue refers to a short story by Balzac, La belle Impéria. The story is a harsh satire of the Catholic clergys' morals, where Imperia seduces cardinals and princes at the Council of Constance and has power over them all. The historical Imperia was a well-educated Italian courtesan named Lucrezia de Paris who was born 1485 in Ferrara, well after the council, and never visited Konstanz.