Twisted Pinnacle

Crooked Spire, Brno, Czech Republic 

Public Art: Twisted Pinnacle

Sculptor: © Antonin Pilgram (1460-1516)

Description: The 5 pinnacle portal is famous for its twisted middle spire deliberated created by the disgruntled sculptor. Under each spire is a statue. The middle statue which stands under the crooked spire is of Lady Justice with gilded sword and scales (another deliberate act, no doubt). On either side are statues of two arms bearers and two Brno councilmen.

Date: 1510

Location: The twisted pinnacle and portal can be found on the exterior of the Old town Hall, Stara radnice, Brno, Czech Republic.

Background : Antonin Pilgram came to Brno in 1495 to work as a stonemason and sculptor. One of his projects was to the create a portal for the City Hall (now referred to the Old City Hall) in 1510.

Prior to commencement Pilgram had negotiated his wage of three pounds of silver and additional payment for his workers and building supplies to be paid on completition. Unfortunately he made the fatal mistake of asking for an advanced payment from the Brno council during the early stages of the project, which they promptly rejected.

A furious Pilgram plotted his revenge with a deliberate act of defiance. He gathered his stone cutters and instructed them to make the tallest pinnacle crooked, just like those council-men. When the portal was completed the towns folk gathered to admire his work only to be distracted by the crooked spire.

When word got back to the council men they were furious and demanded he straigthen the spire. As legend has it his response went something like this ... "Dear Lords, your words have been just as crooked as the pinnacle on the portal, and so no one can ever rectify it. Forever it shall reveal to the world how dishonest you were." His wish was granted as his little twist has attracted people for centuries and the story retold over and over again.

Acknowledgements: A special thank you to Silvie Bee for kindly providing the photographs.

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