"Adopt a statue of the Garden of Plants": in Paris, 24 bronze, marble and stone statues, degraded and oxidized by pollution and bad weather, will be restored thanks to a subscription launched by the Heritage Foundation and the Museum National Natural History.
"The total cost of the campaign is 213,000 euros which we hope to harvest by the end of the first half of 2020. There was an urgency that led us to appeal to the general public. The cost of the restoration of each statue is very variable, "said Alexis Ferrat, head of patronage at the National Museum of Natural History, during a press visit through the garden.
These statues, most of the orders of state and a great elegance, represent famous characters of the end of the XIXth and the beginning of the XXth centuries – Buffon, Lamarck, Frémiet, Bernardin of Saint-Pierre … -, d Other nymphs and Venuses such as the Nymph tormenting a dolphin or the Venus genitrix, others still allegorical figures like the snake charmer or the woman with the bow. A good part finally are statues of animals, lion, bear, marabout …
A total campaign at 213,000 euros
"Our operating budget did not respond to these emergencies." One-off operations were not enough. "In addition to restoration, such a project also involves funding a regular maintenance of the statues" and the conclusion of "protocols" with the gardeners, said Alice Lemaire, responsible for conservation.
Some statues, gray or green, are very damaged by the colonization of micro-organisms – algae, lichens and mosses -, by graffiti and cracks, by a deterioration of the joints on their bases. Added to this is the oxidation of bronze, a gradual disappearance of the patina. Some inscriptions and bas-reliefs are no longer legible.
Several levels of donations have been proposed. From a certain threshold, contributors will benefit from invitations to Garden events, annual passes and private visits. The company or the individual who will bring 10.000 euros will be entitled to his name on a cartel associating it with a restored statue.