Meet d’Artagnan! The valiant musketeer d’Artagnan, immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in his fictional works, was actually a historical figure.His name was Charles de Batz de Castelmore, count of Artagnan, born in 1611, killed when attacking Maastricht in 1673. Still, Maastricht keeps insisting to honour him with a statue, in the face of recurring mishaps. The first statue was made in 1954 by Matthias Camps and moved to a new location repeatedly. It is now barely visible in the abundant ivy on the city wall behind care home Larissa.
The second one was made in 1977 by Gertrud Januszewski and put on a pedestal in Waldeck park. It showed a dapper, but tiny d’Artagnan, his size probably facilitating his disappearance. In 2018, the empty pedestal was decorated with a ceramic flower bouquet by Anne Wenzel, with ceramic versions of his large, plumed hat and his mantle on the nearby wall.
In 2003 it was decided, after much hesitation and deliberation, Maastricht did deserve a new, large statue of the valiant fighter. It was made by Alexander Taratynov, a more than life size in bronze, showing a 17th century swordsman, without any sign of the early gun from which the musketeers got their name. It can be found in Aldenhofpark, in front of the city wall, close to Tongersestraat.
On the pedestal is engraved a lengthy dedication, citing French king Louis XIV. He sadly informs his wife about losing d’Artagnan, who had shown himself a faithful and dependable servant for many decades.