Thursday, 24 April 2014

Statue on lake bottom wins Czech strangest sculpture poll

2 April 2013

Prague, March 29 (CTK) - A replica of St John of Nepomuk's statue, which scuba divers returned to the statue's original place on the bottom of the Slapy water reservoir, central Bohemia, has won the "most surious sculpture poll" organised by daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), it writes Friday.

An old statue showing St John of Nepomuk meeting an angel used to stand on a rocky hill on the bank of the Vltava River that was flooded by the Slapy reservoir during its construction in the mid-1950s.

Five years ago, it occurred to a team of amateur scuba divers to return the statue to its original place, now on the bottom of the reservoir. The statue's whereabouts were unknown, therefore the divers tried to make a new one of concrete, their leader Milan Benc told MfD.

Failing to produce a statue by themselves, they addressed sculptors to do it for them.

"However, the prices the sculptors demanded were too high, which we, amateur scuba divers, could not afford to pay. We even tried to address sculptors abroad, but all in vain," Benc said.

Only in late 2011 they met sculptor Petr Vana, who nodded to joining the project.

"He called us crazy, but eventually he accepted the idea on condition that he will make the statue on his own, not as an exact replica of the original one," Benc said.

Before dropping the sculpture to the reservoir bottom, the divers had to prepare the place 40 metres below the water surface, which required dozens of dives, MfD writes.

The installation ceremony took place on May 19, 2012, when the sculpture was brought above the selected place on a boat and fastened to containers filled with air. Afterwards four scuba divers fixed it to the underwater rock.

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