A long and painstaking process: how the capital's cultural heritage sites are restored

October 15
Culture

For more than 35 years, the ‘Naslediye’ restoration workshop has been engaged in the restoration and recreation of historical and cultural landmarks. During this time, the organization's specialists have restored and recreated more than two thousand historical landmarks in many Russian regions, including about 200 cultural heritage sites in Moscow.

For example, in recent years, the masters have got in order the monument to A.S. Pushkin on Pushkinskaya Square and the monuments to N.V. Gogol on Nikitsky and Gogolevsky Boulevards. They also restored the monument to Maxim Gorky, which was returned to its original place — in the small park on the Belorussky Railway Station square.

Photo by Denis Grishkin, Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

In 2019, the restoration of another symbol of the capital, the monument to Yuri Dolgoruky on Tverskaya Square, was completed. In addition, a lot of work was carried out on the restoration of the park sculpture of the Kuskovo, Ostankino and Arkhangelskoye memorial estate.

Special attention should be paid to the restoration of the E.V. Vuchetich high relief ‘Glory to the Soviet People — the Standard-Bearer of the World!’ in the VDNKh ‘Central’ Pavilion No. 1.

"This object has a difficult fate, for more than 40 years it was considered to be lost. The famous work was accidentally found in 2014 when analyzing the late exhibition structures of the ‘Central’ Pavilion under the false wall. The gypsum figures were badly damaged and needed to be restored. The restoration complexity was also due to the impressive size of the work — more than 1,500 people are depicted on the high relief with an area of 90 square meters," Yuri Shchedrov, Director General of the ‘Naslediye’ restoration workshop, told.

Photo by Maxim Denisov, Mos.ru

The work lasted about a year. The masters restored the broken fragments of sculptures, removed dirt, stains and late tinting, smears, foreign records, strengthened the gluing of individual parts and fragments, as well as the original protective and decorative coating. In addition, cracks and temporary butt joints were repaired, painting was recreated in the original color and tone, the surface was covered with a layer of bronze.

In the spring of 2019, the restoration of another landmark object, one of the main symbols of VDNkh — the Friendship of Peoples Fountain, was completed. Specialists of ‘Naslediye’ took part in it. 16 female gold sculptures were dismantled and transported to the workshop, where 25 restorers were restoring them for four months. They completely removed the residual old gilding, cleaned the surface to bronze, covered each figure with several preparatory layers of red iron ochre and varnish, and only then started gilding. As a result, more than six kilograms of gold leaf were used.

In addition, at VDNKh, a lot of work on the restoration of concrete and faced with in gold smalt sculptures of girls with laurel wreaths decorating the corners of the facade of  ‘Agriculture’ (former ‘Ukrainian SSR’) Pavilion No. 58 was carried out. The sculptural compositions ‘Stakhanovites of Industry’ and ‘Stakhanovites of Agriculture’ located at the main entrance to the pavilion, were also restored. The architectural and sculptural design of the ‘Cosmos’ Pavilion No. 34 facade — ‘Mechanizer’ and ‘Tractor Driver’ sculptures were also restored.

Among the restored monuments of the Soviet period there is a sculptural decoration of residential buildings on Gagarin Square (Leninsky Prospekt, houses 30, 37).

Current projects

Now the specialists of the ‘Naslediye’ company are engaged in the restoration of the gravestones of the necropolis of the Donskoy Monastery of the XVIII-XX centuries and the Donskoye cemetery. There are 74 unique artistic gravestones in the process — these are monuments to representatives of the highest Russian nobility and merchants of the XVIII century, famous personalities and prominent figures of that time.

The restoration of the monument to the great Russian fables writer I.A. Krylov is also underway on the Patriarch's Ponds.  In addition, the restoration of an outstanding work of monumental art of the first half of the XIX century — the monument to Minin and Pozharsky on Red Square has begun. A complex of works on the repair and restoration of the Metropol hotel facades is also being carried out.

"Restoration is always preceded by a long and painstaking process, which includes the collection of historical information, information on the history of the monument, the development of project documentation, writing and approval of the work procedure. When working with the monument, specialists first of all face the task of complex cleaning of surfaces from bio-contamination, hard-to-remove streaks and stains, black organic films, wax stains, paint, rust. Special attention is paid to the filling by various methods of cracks, chips, potholes, volume losses, casting defects, places of upside rebar exposure ," explains Yuri Shchedrov.

According to him, today more than 150 people are in the staff of the companies group. These are leading specialists in the restoration of stone architecture, sculpture, painting and metal, wood, ceramics. All of them have extensive experience, constantly improve their qualifications, and are certified. In addition, architects, engineers and art experts work in the workshop. Thanks to their high professionalism and the advanced technologies used, all work is carried out on time and in accordance with modern principles of restoration.

Popularization of the profession of restorer

The organization pays great attention to the training of young personnel. Every year, it accepts students from leading specialized Russian educational institutions (universities and restoration colleges) for practical training at the workshop sites.

"Special attention in the course of training is paid to modern methods of restoration work and design, problems of monument protection and preventive care of monuments, increasing the profession of restorer prestige and importance and career guidance of young people. The most successful students remain to work in the workshop team. Thus, we provide the involvement of new certified specialists and the consistency of restoration methods," says Yuri Shchedrov.

The organization also regularly conducts excursions for adults and children. They are invited to visit the metal, stone, plaster, terracotta, wood, painting, gilding restoration workshops, to find out about the features of different areas of restoration and see how the workplaces of the masters are arranged. Guests are also shown a workshop of sculpture copying.

After the theoretical part, a master class is held where visitors can try themselves as a restorer: wash the surface of the sculpture, shape the lost fragments, fill in cartograms of monument defects, glue broken vessels, perform metal stamping and not only that.

"The main goal of our project can be called the popularization of the profession. Conventionally, there are two directions: entertaining and educational. The first is for younger children, they are just interested in learning something new, visiting an unusual place. We give senior schoolchildren the opportunity to decide on their future specialty by trying themselves as a restorer. For children interested, we hold a consultation on the topic of further matriculation, tell them about the necessary professional qualifications, depending on the desired specialty, discuss the list of institutions that train specialists, advise how to prepare for matriculation, and so on," Yuri Shchedrov says.

‘Naslediye’ Restoration Workshop is a multiple winner of the ‘Moscow Restoration’ contest. Over the years, the organization's employees have been repeatedly awarded for the high quality of restoration of the artistic gravestones of the Novodevichy Cemetery necropolis and 50 works of landscape sculpture of the Kuskovo Memorial Estate, as well as for the best restoration project and adaptation to modern use and for the high quality of repair of the high relief ‘Glory to the Soviet People - Standard-Bearer of the World!’ by E.V. Vuchetich in the ‘Central’ Pavilion at VDNKh.

Source: mos.ru

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