Prague wants to redesign the calendar

Archiv Věstníku Klubu za starou Prahu

The capital will commission restorers to create a new copy of the Old Town Clock calendar by the painter Josef Mánes. It has no plans to remove the criticized copy, which restorer Stanislav Jirčík created in 2018. Errors have now been noted by the Heritage Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture.

According to Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Prague to himself), who is in charge of heritage protection, new work is now being commissioned.

Its current form, which Milan Patka pointed out in the Bulletin of the Club for Old Prague, was previously described as trivial. Scheinherr pointed out that the calendar board was changed under the previous Prague administration, with Jan Wolf (KDU-ČSL) as the councilor for culture.

According to the new opinion of the ministerial Inspectorate, the author, the city, and the conservationists were at fault.

Jirčík, the restorer, defended himself with a contract with the municipality. He was supposed to create a “technological copy” of the calendar, which admits a specific copyright license.

He used contemporary personalities as models for the figures in the fields of each month. However, according to critics, this damaged Mánes’ original intention.

However, according to the Inspectorate, “some even glaring changes to details, where the reasons for the changes are not understandable and factually justified from the point of view of the interests of state conservation, do not belong in a technological copy of a painting.”

According to the inspection, the author of the new calendar copy deviated from the original, and the city and the conservationists did not sufficiently check his work.

No one faces prosecution

According to the Inspectorate, no one is at risk of being penalized for the mistakes. The city has analyzed the possibility of ensuring the correction without having to pay for it again itself.

According to the Heritage Inspectorate, the restoration was not a restoration of the original, and the case was already time-barred.

Josef Mánes created the calendar in 1866 for the restored Old Town astronomical clock. Since 1882, a working copy has been hanging on the astronomical clock. The original was placed in the museum so that it would not suffer from the weather.

The copy was severely damaged in the fighting for the Old Town Hall in 1945, so from 1946 to 2017, the clock was decorated with a copy created by restorer Bohumil Číla based on the original model.

Next to each other in the museum

Scheinherr confirmed to Právo an agreement with the city museum to exhibit renditions of the clock’s calendar, the previous Číla, and the current Jirčíkovo. “They will be exhibited together with the original by Josef Mánes so that every visitor can see the individual differences,” Scheinherr said.

The city museum’s main building in Těšnov is renovating to preserve the original Mánes plaque. First, however, a new copy must be made.

During the renovation of the Old Town Hall, approximately CZK 10 million was spent on the astronomical clock, according to municipal spokesman Vít Hofman.