The durability of statues

The durability of statues

Quotes from the book ‘From Marcus Aurelius to Kim Jong-il’

………..The threats to the statues are numerous. I have mentioned the most important herefore: revolutions, wars, independency and changes of leadership. But there are more, and equally serious, threats.

…………Many descriptions of equestrian statues proudly mention that the bronze used was derived from cannons captured during campaigns or after battles won by the rider. This trend had already started in Florence in the early seventeenth century, when the statue of Ferdinand I was made from the bronze of cannons captured from the Barbary and Ottoman galleys.

…………..In the early days of making equestrian statues, the material used was lead in a number of cases. Lead was not necessarily cheaper than bronze, but it was easier to cast. However, as it is a relatively soft metal it is less durable and tends to sag, with ensuing consequences.

…………Vandalism is another threat, varying from bomb attacks for political reasons, to graffiti. I have seen many statues with graffiti. In some cases, the statues are covered with this unwanted ‘art’.

……………Pigeons are one of the most serious threats to bronze statues. They like equestrian statues to roost on and leave their droppings.

…………….Unfortunately I can give many examples of neglected statues: The Jeanne d’Arc by Dubois in Washington, a gift from the French women to the American women, is rusty and is missing her sword. Bullet holes from 1945 can still be seen in the statue of Wilhelm I in Nuremberg,………

…………….Restoration can be extremely expensive. As mentioned before, the Sherman statue by Rohl-Smith in Washington DC originally cost US $90,000 (around $2.3 million in today’s money). The cost of its restoration amounted to some $2 million.