The majestic dogs of Tivoli Castle and the mystery of their creator (8 photos)

13 June 2024

Strange rumors are circulating around the artist who created these dogs, guarding the peace of the majestic palace.

Tivoli is the largest and most beautiful park in Ljubljana, it is also home to four cast-iron dogs, majestically located at the foot of Rožnik Hill. These statues, standing guard over the stairs leading to the palace, may seem ordinary to anyone. But don't be fooled. The guards are missing an important organ and are a mystery.

Tivoli Palace

These four hounds, cast in iron, were made around 1864 by the sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn. The Austrian artist and acclaimed animal painter is the protagonist of a modern urban legend. According to local rumors, the artist was a perfectionist at heart. In the process of creating his sculptures, he was so absorbed in perfecting the form of his creations that he completely forgot about dog tongues. He realized his mistake only when it was already too late. A false rumor spread among the people that the sculptor shot himself after the statues were presented to the public.

Anton Fernkorn

Although the details of this story have not been fully clarified, the documents refute the version of Fernkorn's suicide. They say that the sculptor fell ill in 1865 and could no longer work. That same year he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he died at the age of 65. These facts perhaps explain the persistence of the widespread legend. Apparently, the sculptor was committed to a psychiatric clinic shortly after the discovery of the dogs at Tivoli. When he disappeared from the radar, it must have seemed to locals that it had happened for a reason. And a sad but beautiful legend was born.

And the dogs, although they came into this world mute, to this day keep an honorary watch at the threshold of Tivoli Castle.

The dogs closely monitor the embankment, monitor the appearance of new objects and events. And even though in reality the story of the appearance of the guards is not shrouded in such a romantic flair, they are truly masterfully executed and definitely deserve attention.

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