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Inartistic interventions on Tritons

The comments by Elaine O. Farrugia (August 24) about the Tritons Fountain, particularly about the beauty of this monument in the past and the piteous state it is in today, have led me to state some facts that seem to have been forgotten in the ravages of time.

The changes which I suppose Ms Farrugia is referring to must be the columnar insertion underneath the bowl which is visually obstructing and, to say the least, unsightly. The bowl had been shattered in 1978 and its renovation had been entrusted to Malta Drydocks. After a painstaking job undertaken by the foremen and welders of this esteemed but now defunct institution, the bowl was renovated to its overall original shape; however, it is quite obvious that it still bears the brunt of the embarrassing debacle that this monument has unfortunately been through.

In this regard I feel that it was incorrect from the start that the restoration process of this fountain was entrusted to a ship repair facility since the intervention as I see it was handled more from an industrial point of view, giving little if any artistic consideration.

I agree that the present structural set-up of the fountain is more stable than the original. Most would also agree that the original artistic set-up was more pleasing to the eye.

Vincent Apap - the fountain's sculptor - was told at the time that it was possible to repair the arms of the Tritons but certainly not the pipes and that an alternative route was to be created for the water. Although the (in) artistic central addition was undertaken by Chev. Apap himself, one must remind readers that he was artistically all out against this miserable addition. Proof of this is the testimony given by the Head of the Museums Department at the time, Fr Marius Zerafa OP in his book Caravaggio Diaries where he states that Chev. Apap was even dictated what to design.

Some 11 years ago the fountain's water works and lighting system were refurbished under the initiative of the Malta Desalination Services and the Water Works Division.

The result was satisfactory despite the inartistic columnar additional device under the bowl. Regretfully, the fountain is once again in a piteous state with the lighting system down and one of the pumps being out of order; now already for more than two years.

What the fountain needs, I believe, is a proper restoration plan and afterwards an ongoing maintenance scheme. It only adds insult to injury to note that the fountain was cleaned recently possibly because of a daring bid by an individual to swim in its murky waters.

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