Restorers have recreated and repaired sixteen fish sculptures for the Stone Flower fountain and eight dolphin sculptures for the Friendship of Nations fountain at VDNKh. The copper figures will be gilded and attached to the main structures.
The Stone Flower and Friendship of Nations fountains are cultural heritage sites of federal importance. The Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage is overseeing the restoration project, according to the department’s head, Alexei Yemelyanov.
“The restorers have already done a great deal of work to recreate the original appearance of the two iconic VDNKh fountains. One of the important stages of the project is the restoration and renovation of the fish and dolphin sculptures. It should be noted that there are 37 segments to each dolphin and 17 to every fish. The masters meticulously took note of the surviving pieces and, using archive data, restored the lost elements. Now the final stage of the work is underway with the sculptures being gilded, using around 240 g of gold leaf. After this, all that remains to be done is for the fish and dolphins to be put back into the renovated fountain bowls,” he said.
The restoration of the seven-metre sheaf of wheat is also nearing completion. Eight metres in diameter, the sculpture is the centerpiece of the Friendship of Nations fountain.
“Another essential stage of the restoration is almost complete. The artisans have restored almost 75 percent of the mosaic decoration. By the way, the smalt for the mosaic was produced in Moscow and St Petersburg using a tailor-made method. The vast number of tiny details makes the work more complicated. Some 13,000 decorative elements of the mosaic need to be manually attached to each of the six flower petals,” Alexei Yemelyanov added.
The first comprehensive restoration project of the VDNKh fountains in 60 years began in the autumn of 2018. Prior to this, renovation work had been fragmentary, and focused mainly on accident prevention or maintaining the external appearance of structures. The project is scheduled for completion by May.
The large-scale renovation of the country’s main exhibition venue started in 2014. Since then, specialists have renovated 11 cultural heritage sites. Eight pavilions are already open to visitors.
Work continues on almost 40 historical buildings and structures. Last summer, the renovation of 14 fountains in the Central Alley was completed. In addition, the unique Golden Spike fountain was reopened after being inactive since the late 1980s.