Statues of Hygeia, the goddess of health, returns to the facade of the former Ferrein pharmacy after restoration

June 30

Restored sculptures of Hygeia, the goddess of health, were installed on the facade of the building of the former Ferrein pharmacy. For 120 years, they have never been restored, their condition was emergency.

Four identical statues of the goddess of health are the main feature of the exterior decoration of the building. In ancient Greek mythology, Hygieia (Hygeia) was the daughter of Asclepius, the god of healing. The goddess is depicted in a chiton (ancient Greek sleeveless clothing), tied with a belt, and an upper cape — a peplos. A small snake twins around her right arm, and in her left hand, Hygeia holds a bowl. Her hairstyle is typical for Greek sculptures: her curled hair is gathered in a low bun at the back, and lowered low on the forehead in front.

Specialists have been restoring sculptures made of zinc alloy for six months. In the workshop, the restorers cleaned them from dirt, corrosion, eliminated damage and through holes on the surface. After that, the craftsmen conducted a three-dimensional scanning of the sculptures and built models of the lost elements in a special program. They were made of plastic on a 3D printer. Then the models were used as a mold in order to create the missing elements from a zinc alloy that completely matches the original alloy. The final stage was the strengthening of the frame of the sculptures and covering their surface with special protective compounds.

“Today, the sculptures of Hygeia, the goddess of health, after a long-awaited restoration, have returned to the facade of the famous building of the former Ferrein pharmacy. Their installation was carried out by specialists at night, as in the case of dismantling. Using the mobile elevating work platform, they were fixed to the building with the help of safety devices. It was necessary to work as carefully as possible, because the zinc alloy of which the statues are made is very fragile. It was necessary to take care of the facade masonry as well. The installation was carried out at a height of 12 meters (at the level of the second floor), that presented additional difficulties. Now the sculptures decorate the building again, the residents of the capital can admire them,” Alexey Yemelyanov, Head of the Moscow City Heritage, said.

The building of the former Ferrein pharmacy is located at: Nikolskaya Street, 19-21, building 2. This is an object of cultural heritage of regional significance, so all restoration work that has not yet been completed is carried out under the supervision of the Moscow City Heritage and according to a project agreed with the department.

At the end of the XIX — beginning of the XX century, the pharmacy was the most famous in Moscow and the largest in Europe. Due to its magnificent decoration, it was nicknamed the ‘tsar-pharmacy’.

The pharmacy on Nikolskaya Street was opened in 1862 by an honorary citizen of Moscow, Karl Ferrein. In 1872, he descended it to his son Vladimir Ferrein (1834-1918), a year later he expanded the family enterprise by renting and remodeling part of the neighboring building. All the rooms were equipped for customer service, warehouses appeared. Research, theoretical and practical classes in pharmaceutical disciplines were conducted here. In 1881, Ferrein introduced an innovation to encourage the work of employees — he offered them an opportunity to participate in a share of the company's income, which is why it became known as the V. K. Ferrein Partnership.

By the end of the XIX century, the building on Nikolskaya street became rather small for pharmacy and it was rebuilt again. Thanks to the architect Adolf Erichson, it has acquired a familiar look: a four-storey house with a basement, four statues of Hygeia, the ancient Greek goddess of health, on the facade, and a turrical chimney. Then the pharmacy was decorated with a clock, which is no longer extant.

The Ferrein pharmacy has become a unique pharmaceutical enterprise: medicines that were previously brought from abroad were carefully studied and analyzed there in order to prepare analogues. In addition to the pharmacy on Nikolskaya, at the V. K. Ferrein Partnership, there were pharmacy shops in the city, several laboratories (many analyses were carried out there, including those of soil, water, foodstuffs), a glass-blowing workshop, a chemical products factory in the Mologa town in the Yaroslavl province (flooded in 1946 by the Rybinsk reservoir), as well as two plantations of medicinal plants — in the Crimea and the Podolsk district of the Moscow province (now — Butovo).

In 1917, the Ferreins left Russia. In 1931, the All-Russian Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was organized in the Butovo estate with a rich botanical garden. During the Soviet rule, the former Ferrein pharmacy was first called the central pharmacy, then Pharmacy No. 1. It lasted until 2000.

Adolf Erichson (1862-1940) was a Russian architect of Swedish origin, a master of Art Nouveau. He worked in the neo-Russian style, eclectic style, as well as in the neoclassical style. Among his works is the manor house of N. S. Tretyakov (Sushchevskaya Street, 14, now the Bogolyubov Art Library), the Moscow central telephone exchange of the Swedish-Danish-Russian telephone joint-stock company (Milyutinsky Lane, 5), the house of the bank and I. V. Junker and Co. trading house (Kuznetsky Most Street, 16/5).


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