For those who could not visit the excursion “Gardens of the Russian Museum during the Siege of Leningrad” this year, we offer a virtual version.

From July 26 to August 13, 1941, work was carried out to hide a marble sculpture in the Summer Garden. At that time, there were 80 marble sculptures. Most were hidden in the ground, only the sculptural group Cupid and Psyche was removed from the pedestal, covered with shields and covered with sand. For shelter, pits were dug: 2.5-3 m long, 1-1.8 m wide, and 2 m deep. The sculptures were placed horizontally in the pits. Eight (according to their condition, fragile elements, recent restoration) were covered vertically, as were the busts. A plank flooring was laid at the bottom of the pit, a sculpture was laid on it, sidewalls made of boards were erected, covered with sand, spacers were placed, a board made of boards was laid on top (boards from boards were used to hide sculptures for the winter). For sculptures that were covered while standing, a gable roof was erected over the protruding part, which was covered with tar paper, covered with soil 30 cm. 1 sculpture or 3-5 busts were placed in the pit. During the work, two sculptures were damaged, one of them – “Nystadt Peace” (the wing and anchor were broken off), another sculpture – a curl of hair.

Extract from archival documents: “The following documents were drawn up for the conservation of the sculptures: 1. An inventory of the preserved sculptures, indicating: name, size, location before the shelter; No. of sketch sheet and measurements; which team performed the work, method of shelter, notes; 2. Description of the work process ; 3. and 14 sheets of plans of the shelter, with the designation: the place before the shelter, the shelter of sculptures and pedestals and the designation of nearby trees with an indication of their species. “

The sculptor-restorer Georgy Alexandrovich Simonson supervised the conservation of the sculpture. In February 1942, he dies of hunger, but thanks to his efforts, not a single sculpture of the Summer Garden was damaged during the blockade of Leningrad.

The publication used materials from the book by Galina Aleksandrovna Khvostova “Behind the Scenes of Peter’s Paradise, or the History of the Summer Garden Sculpture in the 18th – early 21st Centuries”.

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