The gilded sculpture of Apollo on his chariot, part of a group of statues symbolising the sun god?s journey created by Jean-Baptiste Tuby. (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)
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Apollo’s Chariot Fountain was lifted from its base in the sumptuous gardens of the Palace of Versailles on Tuesday ahead of an 18-month restoration of the gilded lead sculpture celebrating the Greek god.
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The metal structures that for more than three centuries have been supporting the fountain — consisting of 13 statues and weighing 30 tonnes — have rusted and warped, leaving the fountain in need of critical remedial work, Moulin explained.
The gilded sculpture of Apollo on his chariot, part of a group of statues symbolising the sun god’s journey created by Jean-Baptiste Tuby between 1668 and 1671, is lifted out of its basin as part of a major restoration of Apollo’s fountain in the gardens at the Chateau de Versailles (Versailles Palace) in Versailles, France. (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)
“(The damage) is not because of the lead but the metallic structures in each sculpture.”
“Up close, you can clearly see the damage on the sculptures”, Catherine Pegard, president of Chateau de Versailles said, adding that 10 years ago the restoration was already considered urgent.
The restoration work will consist of disassembling the statues, with the 13 sculptures being restored and re-gilded, while the stone base will be strengthened.
“As you know, we are preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (And) with the horse riding events happening here, we’ll have Apollo’s Chariot, in majestic and flamboyant gold, as a backdrop for those Games”, Pegard said.