WATCH: What happened to the column which was in the middle of Triton fountain?
This column, which was not in the original design of the Triton fountain, has been restored and will now be placed in a garden in Sliema as a tribute to artist Ċensu Apap.
The George Bonello du Puis garden in Sliema will be the new location for the column which for more than 25 years was attached to the plate of the Triton fountain. Although this was not in the original design and there is no longer any need for it, the column was not discarded. The Ministry for Infrastructure and Capital Projects has restored this artistic work and relocated it in order to commemorate the work of one of Malta’s greatest artists of the 20th centuries: Censu Apap.
It has been more than five months since the fountain started functioning again following extensive restoration works, which has revealed the beauty of the bronze figures, along with a modern water and lighting system. However, many will remember the fountain having a column at its centre, which is no longer there. This was added in 1986, following a request by the artist himself, to prop up the plate, following its collapse in an earlier incident.
The consultant on the restoration of the Triton fountain, Kenneth Cauchi said, “this support created a problem of space among the cultural group, as it took away from the artistic beauty of the fountain. Censu himself was heartbroken to have to change his original design in this way.”
With the restoration which took place last year in Florence, a steel framework was built inside the actual figures to give them better support and for them to be able to hold up the weight of the plate when it is filled with water. The column could therefore be removed. The Project Manager, engineer Joseph Scicluna, explained that this column has its own artistic value and that was why the Ministry took the initiative to restore it as well, at an expense of €37,000. The work on it is now complete and the column is back in Malta.
“We wanted to find a place where we can place it so that it can be enjoyed by the public. With the collaboration of the Sliema local council, they indicated two suitable places where the column could be re-located near the sea, and we chose the best one which is the garden at Qui si Sana, facing the former residence of sculptor Vincent Apap, the artist himself”, Mr Scicluna said.
The column has ties with the maritime environment. Mr Cauchi said that Apap had created a cascade of seaweed with three gulls circling around it.
“The element of seaweed is taken from the Tritons themselves because the three of them are in a base of seaweed as well, and it can be seen even in their bodies. In this way the artist had retained the link with the Tritons. As an artistic rendering however, the seaweed in the original is much finer and is classic. While that which is impressionistic is worked in much rougher style,”
This sculpture is three metres and a half high and was made at the Funderia Idea Arte Bronzo in Verona.