“Maria Theresa ruled in relatively turbulent times. Although the pragmatic sanction issued by her father determined her as the successors of all the Austrian states, she had to defend their throne, figuratively speaking, with a sword in her hand. She brought a lot of new and good things to our countries together with her son. He actually lives on from her reforms to this day. That is why we have chosen an original and innovative solution for the opening of its monument, and I am glad that there will be an interesting work of art in Prague 6 – a real tribute to the queen who brought the Czech country closer to the modern world, “said the mayor of Prague 6 Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09).
The statue was unveiled exactly 280 years after Maria Theresa took control of the Habsburg Empire.
The sculpture is stable from a special polymer mixture, in addition to a protective surface coating against graffiti, weighs seven tons and measures approximately five and a half meters. It thus represents the artistic dominance not only of the Maria Theresa Park itself, but of the entire public space in Hradčany near the Blanka tunnel complex.
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“Maria Theresa was once the ruling woman on the Czech throne and for her time a relatively modern queen. I am therefore glad that we have achieved the project and we can finally remind the general public as a remarkable personality and an important historical figure, “added Jan Lacina, Deputy Mayor for Culture. The project was created over seven years during three terms.
The sculptor Jan Kovářík and the architect Jan Proksa are behind the design of the monument, together they chose the white silhouette of a faceless ruler. “We wanted to highlight the sheer essence of what is associated with the great queen: a noble presence, a high position and a serious social mission. All this in a strictly reduced, but concise concept. I believe that we have achieved a timeless archetype that is able to speak to people in a broader context, “added Jan Kovářík.
It is said that he watches with interest how the public gradually appropriates the work, even though he has only become acquainted with it from models so far. According to him, this is done through the designations that the statue has received so far: it is a “chess piece” or “Man, don’t be angry!” With reference to the well-known board game. “We can imagine the personality of Maria Theresa as an imaginary figure in the political game of the then Europe. The monument thus acquires an educational dimension, forces people to think, to think and even to find out who Maria Theresa was, what she did during her life and what she actually looked like, “Kovářík remarked.
The competition for the shape of the monument was announced by the city district in 2013. The results were announced at the beginning of 2014. However, due to the elections, the implementation of the project was delayed. In 2016, several hundred people began protesting against the building, especially criticizing the placement of the statue in the park, where Václav Morávek, a member of the anti-Nazi resistance, fell in 1942. Opponents of the construction of the statue made similar complaints in 2019, a year after Prague 6 signed a contract with the sculptor Kovářík. On the contrary, the intention of the town hall was supported by the monarchist party Koruna Česká, while other representatives sent an open support letter to the mayor of the town district, Kolář.
Maria Theresa of the Habsburg dynasty was the Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. She ruled in the Habsburg monarchy from 1740 to 1780. During her reign she reformed the state administration, the army and education. By the General School Regulations, issued in 1774, the queen introduced, among other things, a general educational obligation for both boys and girls. The Enlightenment reforms were later followed by the son of Queen Joseph II.