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Remains of a decorative fountain "The Carp Boy"



The fountain is a simple, circular hydrotechnical structure made of stone. In its center a round pedestal, decorated with four fish was placed. At the top of this shirt pillar a stone ball can be seen – it symbolizes a 18th-century Baroque sculpture "The Carp Boy" (Ger.: Der Karpfenjunge) that stood here until its disappeared during the Second World War.

Historical background

The idea of ​​creating the sculpture emerged in 1788 when the Guben municipality planned on decorating a public water well, which was under construction at that time. Thanks to the recommendation of a former Guben citizen that moved to Berlin, the mayor of the city Mr. Görtitz contacted the artist-sculptor Meltzer with a request to design a sculpture for the well. After the town hall had chosen a design depicting a baroque 3-year-old boy holding a carp with both hands, the sculptor started his work, with the intention of completing it by the eve of St. John in 1789. However, due to the ongoing work on large-scale projects in the Berlin region, i.e., the construction of the Monbijou Palace, Charlottenburg Palace and the Brandenburg Gate, the artist had great difficulties obtaining the material from the quarries in Pirna of his choice, which resulted in the work being extended by year. In the summer of 1790, the sculpture was finished and transported by the Guben skipper Samuel Strasse from Berlin via Ratzdorf to Guben. The erection of the sculpture was hindered by a great fire in the city center, which destroyed 231 households and service buildings, depriving hundreds of people of a home and a livelihood. Due to this tragedy, Meltzer, who, after delivering the sculpture, was to receive an overpayment of 50 thalers for his work, donated the money to the city. The "Boy with Carp", costing 230 thalers, was finally placed in the fall of 1791 on the top of a public well; the pedestal was decorated with heads of dolphins. The whole stood on the main square in front of the parish church and the town hal.

For unknown reasons, the sculpture was removed from the well in the late 1840s., appearing in 1859 on a private plot of the then city architect and owner of the gas plant, at the intersection of Wilke Str. and Gas Str.

In 1908, at the initiative of the City Beautification Society (Ger. Stadtverschönerungsverein), which decided to transfer the 18th-century sculpture to the newly created mid-summer park (Wilhelmsplatz, now Mickiewicz Park), placing it on a round, stone pedestal, decorated with four fish, integrated into the fountain. The sculpture disappeared shortly after the Second World War - it is not entirely certain whether it was stolen or destroyed during the fights for the city in 1945.

Currently, the fountain does not work. In the place of the boy, a simple stone ball can be seen.

Information about the artists

Meltzer was an 18th-century academic sculptor-artist working at the Royal-Prussian Academy of Fine Arts and Mechanical Sciences (Ger.: Königlich-Preußische Akademie der Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften).

Artwork review

The decorative element of the fountain consists of a cylindrical stone pedestal resembling somewhat a Corinthian column. The pedestal has an irregular, slightly rocky form; the high base can be associated with a boulder carved by water, covered with seaweed, on which a short, straight column rests. The top of the pillar is decorated with four large carp heads with gaping open mouths. The architrave, or rather the base of the sculpture once above it, is very simple. Probably the fountain was supposed to resemble a small waterfall, emerging from the mouth of a carp pulled by a boy. The very work of Meltzer referred directly to the function of the municipal well and the importance of water in Guben. The sphere replacing the sculpture removes this relationship - its symbolism and relationship with the entire composition is not entirely clear.

The relationship of the entire form with the surroundings is consistent: the old fountain and the color of its surface blend seamlessly with the surroundings. On the other side it is quite neglected and due to lack of running water, the form does not deliver its true potential. Replacing the sphere with a more expressive form and restoring the former function of the fountain would significantly affect the hidden potential of the solid.


Mickiewicz-Park, 66-620 Gubin, Poland

Year of creation/if applies changes

Fountain: 1903

Sculpture (does not exist anymore): 1790

Investor/architect/creator etc.
Fountain: City Beautification Society (Ger. Stadtverschönerungsverein), Sculpture (does not exist anymore): sculptor Meltzer
Object's condition
Technical information

Fountain: Diameter 4 m

Plinth: 1,3 m