Restauration of Scupltures

Studies carried out in 1998 – 1999 indicate that various measures for conservation of the sculptures have been taken in previous centuries as well.

The first works for the maintenance of sculptures relate to the reign of Charles XI of Sweden (1660 – 1697).

The next renovation of the monument might have taken place in 1739 when both images were placed together. When changing the location of both sculptures, for the reason of simmetry, the Order’s cross was attached to the Plettenberg family’s shield plate, as it can be seen in the drawing made by J. Ch. Brotze.

Drawing by J. Ch. Brotze Reliefs on the portal of Riga Castle, 1891

In 1880, the governor of Vidzeme region Baron Alexander Gildenband required a consultation of George Berkholz, president of the Association of Antiquity Explorers, on how to deal with the sculptures during repair works. Berkholz observed the monuments standing on scaffolding and recommended only to clean the stone images. To prevent swallows from making nests there, G. Berkholz advised to place a fine wire trellis in front of the sculptures. Report on the taken measures is very laconic: “Master Plettenberg’s and Our Lady’s images with pilasters and pediment have been cleaned, repaired and painted.” It is likely that the sculptures were coloured gray.

The only thing known about measures taken in 1936 is the information written in the calculation of the costs of reparatory works: „Stone images placed in the niche have been restored – LVL 65”.

There is no information about any restoration in the Soviet years. In late 70-ties of the 20th century, during repair works, the face of the Child Jesus held by Mary was damaged. After 1984 there have been several unsuccessful attempts to restore the face of Jesus that have left distorting, unsightly bulges.

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