Janus is one of the most distinctive and recognizable of the sculptures along the Route of Friendship. The 1968 sculptural work is by Clement Meadmore. It stands at some six meters high and extends seven meters across. Perhaps surprisingly, the colossal size seems to seldom come across in photographs, where the work can appear rather compact. Big as it is, it’s often said to offer an “incomparable sense of movement” to passersby.
- Clement Meadmore (1929–2005) was born and educated in Australia but spent most of his career in the United States. He studied aeronautical engineering and then industrial design in Australia and began designing furniture. He created his first welded sculptures in the early 1950s and began exhibiting them in Melbourne and Sydney. He moved to New York City in 1963 and his work was said to combine elements of abstract expressionism and minimalism.
- Janus is one of few uniquely Roman religious figures with no precedent in Greek mythology. The deity with two faces, the god is associated with January, the name of which derives from Janus. But it’s also referred to as the god of beginnings, and of gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. The deity also presided over beginnings and endings of battles, shipping, and trade, and was invoked in nearly all Roman ceremonies through the calendar year.
The work was restored and moved, along with many of the works along the route, during the expansion of the Periférico highway in 2011. It was originally about one kilometer to the east on the north side of the Periférico.