A unique Soviet-era mosaic picture of Red Square to be brought from Leipzig to Moscow

A unique Soviet-era mosaic picture of Red Square to be brought from Leipzig to Moscow
Next year, people in the city will be able to see mosaic pictures from the 1950s at VDNKh.

Leipzig, Germany, will transfer unique Soviet-era artifacts dating back to the 1950s to Moscow. These are two mosaic pictures, one of which depicts Red Square with the Vladimir Lenin Mausoleum by the Kremlin Wall and the other the industrial map of the Soviet Union.

The pictures created by an unknown Soviet artist were found last year during the renovation of the Soviet pavilion at the Leipzig Trade Fair. Each picture measures about nine metres by 15 metres. The ceremony marking the transfer is scheduled for November when Moscow will be hosting the Denkmal European Restoration Exhibition at Gostiny Dvor.

Next year, the pictures will go on display at Central Pavilion No. 1, which, after renovation, will become VDNKh’s main temporary exhibition hall.        

According to Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov, both pictures are in good condition although they were created in the early 1950s, which, as world experience shows, happens too rarely. The mosaic pictures were exhibited at the Leipzig Trade Fair’s Soviet Pavilion for two years. After Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, they were covered with gypsum plasterboard sheets, that is, they were practically mothballed. Last year, German workers found the pictures while they were taking down the wall during the renovation of the pavilion.     

“The mosaic pictures are remarkable in many ways: things they depict, their good condition after so many years and that they were found quite by chance like a high relief by Yevgeny Vuchetich, which was found at VDNKh’s Central Pavilion in April 2014,” Yemelyanov said.

Judging by its iconographic material, the Central Pavilion featured the high relief by Vuchetich at one time but nobody knew if it had been preserved since the late 1950s.  Only thanks to the careful work of the restorers and the exhibition staff, it was found in good condition with the minimum number of missing fragments.

“The same can be said about the mosaic pictures found in Leipzig,” Yemelyanov added. “We owe their good condition to specialists who worked at the time. Photographs from that time show the mosaic pictures and the rich decoration of the interior but nobody knew for sure if anything had remained on the walls.”

Yemelyanov said that the pictures had been removed from the pavilion’s wall and preparations had been made for transporting them to Moscow.

According to the department’s press service, Pavilion No. 12 was built by architect Oskar Push between 1923 and1925. When in the 1950s it was entitled Soviet, a five-point star imitating a Kremlin star, was installed on top of a 63-metre high tower. Currently, the pavilion is undergoing renovation, following which it will be modified to provide a home for the city’s archives.

Massive renovation is also underway at VDNKh where the mosaic pictures will be transferred. Work to renovate the façade and the interior of Central Pavilion No. 1 is scheduled for completion in 2018.