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Prospect Park Statuaries get a good lather

With loving detail, city conservators undertook the tall task of preserving a pair of heralded statuaries at the entryway of Prospect Park as part of a municipal renovation program.

Using a 135-foot high lift, members and trainees of the Citywide Monuments Conservation Program cleaned and applied protective coatings to the “Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch” (1892) at Grand Army Plaza, and the “Horse Tamers” images (1899) gracing the Park Circle entrance.

The iconic arch, designed by Grant’s Tomb architect John H. Duncan and honoring Civil War soldiers, took nine years to complete and is surmounted by Columbia triumphant on a horse-drawn chariot. At mid-level stand massive groupings, representing the Army and Navy (1900-01), and at ground-level equestrian portraits of Lincoln and Grant comprise two large relief images, sculpted by Thomas Easkins and William O’Donovan (1895).

The “Horse Tamers,” an allegory by Frederick MacMonnies of the “Triumph of Mind Over Brute Strength,” depicts nude males riding bareback on unbridled horses. The figures stand upon ornate pedestals designed by renowned architect Stanford White.

The Citywide Monuments Conservation Program was established in 1997 to augment, through private investment, the City’s care of its public art collection and to train the next generation of conservators. It has refurbished dozens of sculptures and monuments in addition to performing numerous maintenance projects in New York City parks.

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