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Angel of the North

  • Date: 7 September 2009
  • Artform: Visual arts
  • Area: North
Angel of the North, permanent installation at Gateshead, 1998 Angel of the North, permanent installation at Gateshead, 1998

Completed in February 1998, Antony Gormley's 20-metre-high sculpture Angel of the North has become a national icon and a symbol of public art's role in the regeneration of the north east.

The largest sculpture in the United Kingdom, the Angel is set on a panoramic hilltop at the site of a former colliery pithead baths. It is viewed by more than 90,000 drivers a day on the A1, and by passengers on the east coast main line from London to Edinburgh - more than one person every second.

Gormley has said of the Angel: '... The effect of the piece is in the alertness, the awareness of space and the gesture of the wings - they are not flat, they're about 3.5 degrees forward and give a sense of embrace.'

The site was chosen to pay tribute to the north east's mining history. In the early 1990s, the area was reclaimed as a green landscape.

The Angel was made possible with a lottery grant of £584,000. Its enormous popularity has helped spawn direct private sector in the arts, getting many to mention the words 'Gateshead' and 'art' in the same sentence for the first time.

Gormley's sculpture has since become a beacon for a string of public projects that have transformed Gateshead's quayside, including the world's first tilting bridge, live music centre the Sage Gateshead, and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

Visit Antony Gormley's website at www.antonygormley.com