Placement of the three statues of the apostles after repair back to the Staroměstský orloj, June 21, 2023, Prague. Astronomer Petr Skála is pictured.
Prague – Three statues of the apostles, which were damaged by vandals last July, were returned to the Prague Astronomical Clock this morning after repairs. At 9:00 a.m., all 12 saints took turns in the windows of the monument, including Saints Matthew, Thomas and Judas Tadeáš, who were absent from the parade in the past weeks due to restoration. Prague watchmaker Petr Skála told ČTK that the repairs and the installation of the statues back into place went without any problems. The cost of repairing the statues was 35,000 crowns and was covered by insurance, added Prague spokesman Tadeáš Provazník.
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Last year, while inspecting the astronomical clock in the Old Town Hall, the perpetrators broke the glass door separating the room with the apostles from the chapel. The falling glass subsequently caused cutting and varying depth defects in the polychromy and in the wood on the three sculptures. “Three Sundays ago, the apostles were finally able to move to the restoration workshop, Mr. (Jiří) Matějíček repaired them and we returned them there today. Everything is fine,” Skála said.
Ropezník added that the original glass was replaced by safety glass, which, in the event of a similar incident like the one last year, will not spill into the astronomical clock's machine. Otherwise, according to the watchmaker, it is not common for visitors to behave aggressively, the last time in 2010 a vandal from outside damaged the statue of the Astrologer. “Otherwise, there are no problems with visitors,” Skála said. He added that there are currently no further works planned and the machine is working as it should.
The clock is attached to the south side of the Gothic tower of the Old Town Hall, which is a national cultural monument and whose construction was completed in 1364. For a long time it was believed that the astronomical clock dates back to 1490. But in the second half of the 20th century, thanks to the discovery of new documents, it was found that the earliest mention of the astronomical clock is dated to October 9, 1410.
In 2018, it was completed the last major reconstruction of the astronomical clock, last year there was criticism of the form of the new calendar plate, which was created by the now deceased painter and restorer Stanislav Jirčík. His concept of the calendar, the original version of which was created in 1866 by Josef Mánes, was criticized, among others, by Milan Patka, a member of the Za starou Praha Club, who filed a complaint with the Monuments Inspection. According to the subsequently published images, the new copy differs from the original in a number of details, and Jirčík, among other things, significantly changed the appearance of some characters. The city therefore decided to have a new copy made, which the Academy of Fine Arts is working on.