Looks as it did in 1732 The statue of St John of Nepomuk has regained its lustre

It is a minor intervention in a public space, but it shows how to skilfully restore old statues. The statue of St John of Nepomuk in Ratowice, Lower Silesia, looks different than it did a few years ago. During conservation work, thick layers of paint were removed and the original appearance was restored.

The sculpture is almost 300 years old. It was placed in Ratowice in the form of a chapel in 1732. Recently, the Lower Silesian Voivodeship Conservator of Monuments (DWKZ) announced the completion of works to restore the sculpture to its original appearance.

Until recently, the sculpture was coloured. From time to time, it was covered with a layer of paint to refresh the image of the saint. However, successive layers made the facial features less distinct. Alternating rains and sunshine did their job. The paint quickly peeled off and the exposed parts were covered in dirt. Fortunately, the conservation and restoration was handled by specialists.

The presence of layering made it difficult to assess the extent of the damage and the degree of erosion of the sculpture’s surface. After its removal, losses of original stone elements were found in many places. The right hand of the statue was secondary, made of lead, the moulded cornice below the plinth with niche was made of concrete. The fence around the sculpture was also covered with secondary paint and corrosion products, reports the DWKZ.

The sculpture was successfully restored thanks to the commitment of a private individual and financial support from a grant from the Lower Silesian Provincial Conservator of Monuments. The conservation work was carried out under the direction of Dr Maria Gąsior. First, the sculpture was cleaned of dirt, layers of paint, lichen and secondary elements were removed. Chemical and mechanical methods were used to restore the sculpture’s shine. It turned out that the original statue was white and the plinth slightly darker.

In addition, all metal parts were cleaned and protected against corrosion. The sandstone surface was disinfected. During the work, missing elements were also reconstructed and cavities were filled in.

The nimbus over the head of the saint was restored. The fence was also dismantled, its foundation cleaned and repaired, secondary build-ups removed and protected against corrosion. The whole thing was then painted in a colour scheme established on the basis of the stratigraphic research carried out,” reads the announcement from the AGCC.

The statue has returned to its original place and can be viewed by visiting the municipality of Czernica.

source: Dolnośląski Provincial Conservator of Monuments

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Sculpture BEFORE conservation:

Sculpture AFTER conservation:

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