Gateway of the Old Town Hall
Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Anton Pilgram, and the gateway you’re now looking at is one of my most beautiful works. Surely, you must agree.
Although I work predominantly in Austria and Hungary, Brno is the town of my birth, which is why, when they offered me this commission, I readily said ‘yes’ to the local councillors. The work was not easy. Carving out all those statues and creating the necessary stonework took ages. And then those craven cheapskates, those pot-bellied, puffed-up scoundrels decided to cheat me by paying much less than the price we’d agreed.
And not only that! They wanted me to throw a banquet to celebrate the official opening of the gateway. All for the measly couple of gold pieces they finally gave me. Fair enough. So, that night I climbed up the scaffolding for the last time, and fixed one of the pinnacles to make it crooked. A statement of simple eloquence: now the whole of Brno could see how crooked their municipal leaders were. As soon as the bent pinnacle was complete, I packed my things and headed for Vienna – just to be on the safe side.
People tell me the councillors got the ‘point’ very well. And why wouldn’t they, when the whole town was laughing at them!
They wanted to sort out that crooked pinnacle, of course. Yes, they paid a stonemason to straighten it, but by morning the shape had returned to the way I’d carved it. A miracle, I suppose.
And what do you think? Have those municipal leopards changed their spots? Don’t hold your breath. You’ll recognise when Brno’s council leadership starts honouring its promises, because the pinnacle on the portal will straighten all by itself.
But as far as I know, the pinnacle is still as crooked today as ever.