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The Teruel Museum confirms that the current torico is the same one that existed before the Civil War and was no longer made of bronze

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The Torico, the symbol par excellence of the city of Teruel, which was broken when it fell from its base last Sunday, is the same as the one dismantled in 1938 during the civil war. A report published in May 1994 by the Museum of Teruel In order to know the condition of the sculpture, he points out that the figure crowning the central Teruel fountain in the Plaza del Torico was carved in iron, although it is a 16th-century “ancestor of the present one”. Pierre VedelYes, it may have originally been bronze. The study also highlights that the figure was “entirely” covered in a barely visible patina that gave it the appearance of bronze, although it wasn’t.

In the 16th century, an anonymous author described the Torico of the time as: “A small and beautiful gilded bronze bull with a star between its horns”. But in 1858 Vedel’s work was removed and a “new fountain built, which has come down to us with some modifications, and it is probable that the current torico was installed at that time,” the museum document states. “It’s likely,” the museum institution emphasizes, without being able to say for sure, since the first photo of the figure was taken only on July 1, 1909, during the Heifer Festival. In this image, the figure is facing south — north until last Sunday.

In 1932, according to the museum, a project was drawn up to remove the 1858 fountain and turn it into a single obelisk with the effigy of the bull at the top. But eventually the fountain was preserved, some changes were made and the works were handed over to the City Council on July 27, 1933.

There are no more photos until 1938: some soldiers pose next to the statue of Torico, which was lowered from the column to protect it. “It appears to be the same bull as 1909, although in recent years it has been facing north.”

The report states that in 1994 “the surface of the image preserves residues of a green coating with traces of blue in some places, which it must have completely covered at the time, and which performs an important protective function. Surely its application should give an appearance similar to bronze when covered with a patina colored by copper corrosion products.”

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Totally different conclusions than the recent study commissioned by Teruel City Council and entitled Emergency repair of the Torico Fountain shaft. Technical criteria: “In all the sources consulted it is stated that the figure [debería ser] Bronze, like the whistles [decorativos de la fuente]. However, when it collapsed and splintered, the material from which it is constructed was confirmed to be cast iron. [hierro] Gray. Soledad Díaz, a restorer specializing in metals from the 1stInstitute of Spanish Heritage [IPCE, dependiente del Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes]during the June 21, 2022 session on the occasion of the repair that there are notable stylistic differences between the pipes [de bronce] and the bull [de hierro], and that the material used in the latter is typical of a more industrial period. From these assessments, it can be concluded that the recently fallen figure is not the original from 1858, but a replica from the early 20’s town in 1937. This is a hypothesis based on stylistic criteria and the use of materials In other words, the report suggests that the original 19th-century bronze sculpture was replaced by an iron one, like EL PAÍS, during the Civil War announced this Thursday.

Jaime Vicente Redón, director of the Teruel Museum, is outraged by these statements. “The IPCE specialist did not analyze the figure, only saw her image via video conference and knows that she was made of iron because we told her so. [el museo]. In addition, the images from 1938 and 1994 prove that it is the same sculpture. There is no doubt. And possibly the photographic quality does not allow us to assure that it is the same piece as the 1909 one.

Plaza del Torico, 1938 after being taken by Franco’s troops. The sculpture is gone.Francisco Martínez Gascón / Archives of the Martínez Gascón family

The director of the museum puts forward the following hypothesis: it could be that the original figure (between the 16th and 18th centuries) was made of bronze, so material remained in the collective imagination. Later, when the current fountain was built, a bronze or iron fountain was installed, which could eventually have been replaced, but it is clear that the 1938 one was already iron and almost certainly the 1909 one.

Jaime Vicente Redón does not see any contradiction in the fact that the whistles (in the shape of a bull’s head) are made of bronze and not iron. “They use an iron bull and bronze pipes because this metal has biocidal properties and improves water quality. Iron degrades beforehand”. And he concludes with a question: “Who can imagine that in the middle of the civil war, when bombs were falling all over the city, someone replaced the bronze bull, made a mold and started melting an iron one? So that? In which foundry? It’s all absurd.”

The museum’s report highlighted “the absence of important corrosion processes, that is to say very evident, which at the moment allows us to speak of a good state of conservation, which is always relative given the instability of iron.” Until last Sunday, when everything changed and the city marveled at the figure that had ruled it for the past 150 years.

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Source elpais.com

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