Scupltures in the 21st Century

Gradually, the two famous medieval Riga Castle symbols – high reliefs made of stone – have reached critical condition and there is a danger of collapse. In autumn 1998 the Riga Castle Administration asked the Council of Art Monument Experts of the National Cultural Heritage Protection Board to assess the technical condition of both sculptures. The Council gave the following conclusion: „During inspection it has been established that the state of sculptures is very bad – there are visually detectable stone material decay processes that result in crumbling of certain details. Probably the crumbling process takes also place under the top layer. The entire surface of the sculptures is covered with a thick layer of dirt, which, together with crumbled areas, makes the appearance of the monuments absolutely unacceptable and degrading”. After studies carried out by Latvian experts in 1999 it was concluded that they lack experience for such a complex work as sculpture restoration. Therefore the Riga Castle Administration had consultations with a number of European stone restoration laboratories about opportunities to work together to save these unique stone images. German stone restoration centers were the most willing to train restorers from Latvia and to help them with tools, materials and finances, in order to make the sculpture restoration meet the standards of the modern science. Restoration possible after the reorganisation of the Riga Castle maintenance and management system has not yet started.

Photo: made 10 years ago

As Latvian Riga Castle is the residence of the President, it has a special role in the national and folk life, its historical symbols – sculptures – have to be in good state. With the support and blessing of Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz, the Fund of Our Lady of Riga Castle was founded. The founders were seven people, the elected Board consisting of three people: Lilija Jancevska, Silvija Limane and Maris Sternmanis. The aims and objectives of the public organisation: to restore the popularity of Our Lady of Riga Castle and revive Her worship in Latvia; to organise collection of donations for restoration of the sculptures of Our Lady and Walter von Plettenberg. The Fund is supported by JSC State Real Estate Agency, restoration council of the Riga City Castle and National Cultural Heritage Protection Board.

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