On the centre axis of the parterre, in line with the coffee house that Maximilian of Habsburg had built for the Park of Miramare, stands a statue of a boy with his arms extended, reaching up towards the sky. Portrayed in the act of prayer (and thus called the ‘Orante’), it was cast by the Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino in the nineteenth century. It is a copy of the famous ‘Praying Boy’ statue at the Altes Museum in Berlin.
The base upon which the Miramare Orante stands is an invaluable ancient artefact from Alexandria, Egypt, dating to around the third century CE, as noted in the inscription. Written in Greek characters that are still perfectly legible today, the epigraph describes the granting of an award to a victorious athlete by an association of merchants called ‘Tarsikari’, manufacturers of a particular type of cloth. It was originally part of Maximilian’s impressive collection of Egyptian antiquities, most of which was transferred to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna years after the archduke’s death.