Alexander Pushkin monument: Restoration nearing completion

Alexander Pushkin monument: Restoration nearing completion
The only thing left to do is to cover the bronze statue with a fresh layer of patina, set a fence around the monument and paint the cast-iron lamps.

City restorers have almost completed restoration work of the Alexander Pushkin monument on Pushkinskaya Square. The steps, or stylobate, and the base of the monument have already been renovated. The bronze statue has been cleaned of soot, dust and other grime. Also, the mastic sealant has been removed from small areas where it had masked defects and flaws in the metal.

Now the workers have to restore the patina covering the bronze.

According to the Department of Cultural Heritage, the decision on how to cover the statue with patina was taken on 4 August at the department’s joint scientific and methodological council’s meeting. Experts studied the samples of the patina from the monument and decided to conserve the natural layer, and even to restore it in the places where it had been rubbed off.

Restoration workers will apply chemical patination. They will cover the surface with a special solution of a similar colour to that of patina. It is necessary to even out the colour, eliminate any blotches and blend the colours.

“The aim of the final stage is to even out the formed patina on the statue. This is a natural protective layer which has formed on the bronze monument during several decades. It has different shades of green and brownish-black colours. Residents know that the statue has these shades, and to preserve them is the right thing to do,” said Alexei Yemelyanov, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage.

After the renovation, a chain fence will be set around the monument. The artistic chains were dismantled last summer. Part of them was recast, and the other part was renovated. The lamps near the monument will be painted black. The surface of cast-iron pillars has already been cleaned and a primary coat of paint has been applied.

The monument and stylobate renovation began in April. The concrete foundation was reinforced, the steps laid anew, and the granite facing cleaned from dirt, cracks sealed with sealer. The flowerbed around the monument was dismantled: there will be paving instead. This was decided because the original monument project did not have a flowerbed, and water constantly reached the monument foundation through it.

Alexei Yemelyanov stressed that this was the first complex renovation of the monument so it took a lot of time and was divided into stages. However, the project will be completed by City Day and once again Pushkin will be there for the public to enjoy.

This monument to poet Alexander Pushkin was designed and realised by sculptor Alexander Opekushin. Initially, in 1880, it was located at the beginning of Tverskoi Boulevard, on Strastnaya Square (now Pushkinskaya). In 1950, the Pushkin monument was moved to the other side of the square. It was renovated twice once in 1993 and again in 2003, but the work was general and fragmentary.

Pushkinskaya Square became a part of My Street renovation programme last year, but the renovation of the monument to Alexander Pushkin was planned for 2017.

Moscow does not only renovate the monuments but moves them back to their historical places. For example, the monument to Maxim Gorky returned to its original place on Tverskaya Zastava Square at the end of July.