At VDNKh, the restoration of pavilion No. 59 “Grain” has been completed. The craftsmen carefully restored and preserved the original parts. Evening Moscow correspondents were among the first to review them.
The Grain Pavilion can be seen from afar. You will recognize it by its “transparent” tower, which is crowned with a gilded spire with a ruby star. The striking detail was restored using fragments found in the attic of the pavilion. They were sent to a workshop where the lost laminated glass was made using old technology. That same ruby color is made up of white, which diffuses light, transparent and red.
“The star’s frame is original, it was completely preserved,” said VDNH chief architect-restorer Elena Maksimova. — We replaced only those areas that were damaged by through corrosion.
On the lower tier of the tower there are sculptural compositions on the sides. Two pairs of girls and boys hold heraldic shields in front of them. One of them depicts the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower, the other a Moscow skyscraper. Before the restoration began, the condition of the sculptures was in disrepair, so it was assumed that the craftsmen would remove the molds from them and re-cast the figures. However, after examining everything once again on site, experts decided to preserve the original statues.
“The sculptors-restorers did a great job,” Maksimova emphasized. — The preservation of the figures was different. So, in one of the couples, the young man’s head was almost completely missing, and the girl’s bust was seriously damaged.
The decor on the facades deserves special attention. Restorers restored small turrets – pinnacles, cones and other details, some of which were lost, so they were recreated from surviving fragments. The pavilion’s historical interiors were also restored. Through the main entrance you enter the entrance hall with white columns made of artificial marble. Only here, underfoot, a breccia mosaic floor has been preserved since the 1950s. On a light background of multi-colored pieces of marble slabs, patterns in the form of intertwined chains of octahedrons are laid out.
A unique painting has been restored overhead, creating the illusion of no ceiling. This artistic technique was often used when painting palaces and temples during the Renaissance. Soviet craftsmen decided to turn to him when decorating some VDNKh pavilions. In this particular room, the sky with clouds floating across it and banners fluttering in the wind was depicted right on the plaster.
“There were repeated leaks in this room, so the painting was seriously damaged,” said Elena Maksimova. — In many places the paint layer has faded, and in some places it has peeled away from the plaster. Restoration artists strengthened the base of the painting, put the loose fragments in place, carefully removed dirt and stains, filled in the gaps and then covered everything with a protective compound.
But it turned out that this is not the only painting in the pavilion. During the restoration of the portals between the halls, a painting was discovered on one of them under several layers of white paint. On top there is a garland of vegetables, fruits and ears of corn, an oak wreath framing a hammer and sickle, and on the sides there are thin branches with apples, pears and cherries. Along the perimeter there is an ornament of golden ears of grain tied with ribbons.
“We also found paintings on the ceiling rosette,” Maksimova added. “It itself is painted with silver and gilding, and there are plates in a circle in which four scenes with fruits and berries are repeated. To see this beauty, you need to go through the “green” to the “pink” hall. The colored artificial marble used to decorate the walls was also discovered under layers of paint and restored.
Using archival photographs and drawings, historical chandeliers were recreated in the pavilion. In addition, the restorers noticed that similar lamps hang in pavilion No. 51 “Meat Industry”. They helped the masters achieve maximum authenticity.
But the stained glass windows in the pavilion are genuine. The restorers managed to preserve them almost completely. The frosted glass depicts various vegetables, berries, grains and other plants. Depending on the room, they are either golden or an amazing manganese color.
“The design was obtained using chemical etching of thin colored glass, which was fused onto a base,” explained Elena Maksimova. “The technology for creating these stained glass windows is known, but, unfortunately, we no longer have the necessary equipment, so in places where there are not enough elements, we decided to simply install frosted glass.
Thus, the craftsmen emphasized the originality of the stained glass windows and left a foundation for future restorers. Perhaps they will also be able to find the name of the author and the drawings he left behind, from which it will be possible to recreate the completely lost glass fountain. So far, all that is known is that it once decorated the introductory hall.