A giant nude man made of metal is to stand guard over Broad Street, the Oxford Mail can reveal today.

The statue by Antony Gormley – creator of the Angel of the North – will take pride of place on the roof of the Blackwell’s Art and Poster shop.

Gormley said the 7ft figure, cast in iron and weighing half a tonne, was inspired by his own physique.

He said: “The casual passer-by will ask, ‘What is that naked iron bloke doing up there?’, for which I hope there will never be a single satisfactory answer.

“It indicates an exposed place, separated from shelter of the architecture that might otherwise contain it, where one man once was and by implication anyone could be.

“The context is a critical one – this corner is the most visible part of Exeter College to the outer world.”

Its price tag is believed to be in excess of £250,000 and it will be put in place at a ceremony attended by the artist on Sunday, February 15.

An anonymous benefactor provided the funds for Exeter College to secure the sculpture. It will be placed on the corner where The Broad meets Turl Street.

It is one of a series of sculptures entitled Another Time II. Similar pieces in central London have sparked anxious calls to police from people reporting seeing someone was about to throw themselves off a building.

Eric Bennett, the bursar of Exeter College, said: “Everyone at the college was thrilled by the news of Gormley’s involvement and can’t wait to see it.

“The college decided that the position of and setting of such an important sculpture, by an internationally re-nowned sculptor and artist, should be visible from the public domain. It is a sculpture that can be best enjoyed at a distance. Certainly, no one is going to have need of binoculars.

“It is important for the visibility of the sculpture, for it to be positioned close to the parapet of the building, on the skyline.”

Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust, predicted that the figure would spark fierce argument across the city.

She said: “It’s going to cause quite a debate and opinions are going to be divided.

“But it is good to see such a respected artist becoming involved with Oxford. And we are delighted that the college is putting a sculpture in the public domain.”

The position of one of Gormley’s figures in London caused alarm when it began to rain and water dripped off it.

A passer-by contacted the police to report that someone standing on a building had urinated on her.

Gormley, who read the history of art at Trinity College, Oxford, visited Exeter College, to look at the major chapel restoration.

At first he had expressed an interest in producing a stone statue for the exterior of the chapel.

A former Turner Prize winner, Mr Gormley is best known for the monumental Angel of the North, which dominates the skyline, near Newcastle.