Sculptor sails across the Vltava on a boat of marble

13-07-2005

Sculptor Jan Rericha is a man obsessed with marble. Although marble serves well for statues and palaces - Rericha uses it to create the most unexpected artefacts - a violin made of marble now has pride of place at the City of Prague Museum. Next in line was a marble cube which Rericha swore would float in a tank of water. The cube is at the Pelhrimov Museum of Curiosities - and as Rericha predicted - it is still floating, more than a year after it was officially "launched". The latest of Rericha's wonders was unveiled to the public on Tuesday - a boat made of marble, which the sculptor claimed would take him across the Vltava River.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Dozens of onlookers gathered on the riverbank as Rericha climbed into the marble boat and, using one paddle, set sail across the river. Clearly, not many people had faith in the project. Following days of rain the currents in the river were strong and a team of lifesavers were in a boat just five metres behind Rericha, cracking jokes about how long it would be before they'd have to pull him out. But, true to his word - Rericha made it across the river - from Vysehrad to Smichov - and got a huge round of applause as he touched the opposite bank ten minutes after setting out. The trip back was worse - and the little marble boat had to be towed the last 100 metres. But even so Rericha was clearly pleased with himself. And he's set his sights higher - he wants to build a marble boat that will look like a jewel - and yet be safe enough to carry more than one passenger. Hopefully, he'll only be taking them on a one way trip!