Restorer: Latest graffiti on Charles Bridge the "most extensive" he has seen

The restorer was summoned from his vacation to remove graffiti that appeared on the Czech capital's iconic bridge last week.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 12.07.2021 15:21:00 (updated on 12.07.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, July 12 (CTK) - Jakub Tlučhoř, the restorer called in by City Hall to remove the graffiti defacing Prague's historical Charles Bridge from Friday, completed the job on Sunday night, Barbora Liskova, from the city's communication technical administration (TSK), told CTK today.

She said heritage conservationists have yet to determine whether further restoration works are needed.

On Saturday, a young man came to the police station to confess to having sprayed a section of the 14th-century bridge. He recognized himself in video footage from CCVT cameras published following the incident.

The police now also know the identity of the girl who was there with him. Since both of them are underage, the police cannot elaborate on the case, the Prague police tweeted during the weekend.

On Friday, the police found texts in English sprayed in turquoise with a non-washable dye. The markings are on the right side of the bridge towards Prague Castle and a plinth of the Saint Augustine statue.

The police started to deal with the incident and TSK ordered the graffiti removal, for the sake of which the restorer Tlučhoř had his holiday interrupted.

Tlučhoř, an expert specializing in restoring cultural monuments, started with the removal on Saturday afternoon and completed it late on Sunday.

"It's important to remove graffiti as soon as possible. Time plays a role because colors are polymerizing, the binders that are on it,” he emphasized. He said graffiti also attracts other vandals. "If, for example, you have older graffiti on the facade, it attracts another graffiti artist who will sign it. It's like having a landfill - another person throws his mess in there," he said.

Tlučhoř took samples on the bridge to test the solubility of the binders contained in the spray used. He then developed a suitable mixture of organic solvents.

"It is a gel that is applied to individual scuffed areas and cyclically blown into the stone surface with pressurized steam to expel pigments from the porous system and prevent any damage to the stone," he said.

He said he has removed sprayer vandalism displays from the bridge several times so far, but this impact of this particular act of vandalism was the most extensive of all.

The crime can be punished with up to three years in prison, but as a minor, if convicted, the young man should receive a milder punishment.

The damage has been estimated at CZK 100,000.

The 520-meter-long Charles Bridge, originally called "Stone Bridge," was founded in 1357 under the reign of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Roman Emperor. At the end of the 17th and in the 18th centuries, the bridge turned into a splendid gallery of Baroque statues of saints. Some of them were added in the 19th century. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Prague.

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