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Immendorff’s Elbquelle

Nearly every day the Riesaer Elbquelle not far from the Elbbrücke (bridge) appears in another color: from shining yellow-orange over red-brown to and intensive dark-brown. Dependent on weather and humidity the rusty cast iron shines differently. Actually Europes largest sculpture has the name “Elbquelle”. But the people from Riesa simply call it “Rieseneiche” (giant oak). It is supposed to stand at the exact place, where the giant of the saga poured out the sand of his boot, so that Riesa could arise. The overall 234t heavy building was made after a long design phase of the artist Prof. Jörg Immendorff. The “Elbquelle” consists of 49 pieces. Their heaviest gobbets weigh 15t. It was poured in Bocholt at 1350°C and smoothed during the ball-steel-method. The inauguration of this work of art took place in 1999 with the words “camouflaged by tree and bark the paintbrush of the artist becomes a spade”. The artist from Düsseldorf was inspired by one of the winter oaks, which appear in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, to design the sculpture of Riesa. The winter oak is a symbol for the force of nature and the inexhaustible energy of art. The foundling at the foot of the oak and the spade stand for the religion and are a sign of a start. The range and the painting-stick, which are hanging on the branches, stand for artistic creation. It is said, that the former Mayor of Riesa wanted one single leaf at the tree, as a sign for the hopeful new beginning. At first Immendorff gave in, but then he turned the leaf to the tree, so that you can hardly see it today. The RIESA INFORMATION at the “Hauptstraße” has got an interesting book about the history of the Elbquele.

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