Recently the Statuary of St. Vincent of Ferrera and St. Procopius created by Ferdinand Maxmilian Brokof in1712 has been moved. What has remained is the pedestal of the sculpture decorated by some splendid sculptural decoration. But this has to go as well. Research has discovered that the stone inside of the pedestal is damaged, also damaged is the stone in some other parts of the sculptural group,” pointed out Petra Hoftichová.
The sculptural group of St. Francis Borgia is also going to be moved. Petra Hoftichová, who is responsible for public sculptural work at the Prague City Gallery, expects that both sculptures will be moved in a month’s time. She said that the sculptures should be back in three years’ time providing all goes well. For the time being the pieces will be placed in depositary.
Original, or copy?
It is not completely clear which sculptures will return to the bridge because a bigger group of experts has to decide on the matter. It is likely that the sculptures will return to the bridge partly as originals and partly as copies. The procedure may be similar to the procedure done with St. Kosmas and Damien, where a copy of the new pedestal has already been installed and the restored originals will return next year.
Hard work on the bridge
To dismantle the sculptures is no easy task. Experienced restorers Jiří Kačer and Vojtěch Adamec took this project upon their shoulders. They learned their craft from their older colleagues many years ago and therefore have plenty of experience. They surely need it because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to fasten the sculpture to the crane without damaging it nor could they dismantle and transfer them.
Chance to do research
Removal of the sculptures will not enhance the bridge’s appearance, but on the other hand it offers a unique opportunity to undertake research of the bridge’s pillars. As the experts say, no one knows what exactly is hidden in the inner parts of the bridge. “We all know what is on the surface of the bridge but no one has managed to get into its depths yet,” said Petra Hoftichová.
Other sculptures threatened
The Gallery of Prague has been in charge of the main part of public sculptures. With regard to the Charles Bridge, the ones under immediate threat are already being repaired, but also other sculptures need fast intervention. One of them is the Marian Plague Column on Hradčany that was created in memory of the plague epidemic on the same place where the open air church services were held between 1713 and 1714. The pillar was finished in 1736. The second sculpture is the sculpture by Valerián Karouška (he died in Huascaran) and by Jiřího Novák in Aviaticka Street by the Ruzyně Airport.