108 years ago, the Italian brothers known as the Piccirilli Brothers carved one of New York City’s most iconic statues: The lions standing guard at the New York Public Library’s main branch known as Patience and Fortitude.

Now these treasures will soon be undergoing routine maintenance and work and will be covered up as they are cleaned along with minor repairs due to age and weathering like small cracks here and there.

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Patience and Fortitude stand guard at the New York Public Library’s main branch on 5th Avenue/Image via NYPL

The project costs the library $250,000 and lasts roughly 9 weeks according to NYPL.

amNY writes:

“We love the lions here at the library, they really are our mascots,” said Iris Weinshall, chief operating officer of the New York Public Library. “But they are out there in the cold and the rain and the snow … every seven or eight years they have to go to the spa.”

Caring for the beloved beasts, carved from pink Tennessee marble, is no easy feat. The library hires experts to evaluate the condition of the lions and then perform delicate work to keep them clean and shore up any cracks in their bodies.

Meanwhile over at the Daily News they report:

“The lions have earned some time at the spa,” New York Public Library President Anthony Marx said in a statement.

“For over 100 years, they have stoically guarded our building on bustling Fifth Ave., delighting visitors and providing calm hope at all times that with knowledge we will prevail,” he said. “They are the true kings of this city, beloved by all. As great stewards of this building, it is critical that we maintain the lions and ensure that they are strong to inspire everyone for generations to come.”

Glad they’re taking care of these treasures.

Oh, did you know that the Piccirilli Brothers also carved Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial in DC?

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