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Angels return, 11.04.2018

The ongoing restoration of the Catherine Palace Chapel (Church of the Resurrection) is full of some interesting finds and discoveries.

A few months ago the restorers uncovered 182 fragments of carved gilt décor carefully hidden in the altar part. That was probably done by museum workers in hopes that the architectural masterpiece of the eighteenth century would be revived someday.

Painstaking work was carried out to identify the fragments and find out their original places in the church interior. One wing of the Tsar’s Gate was assembled from 54 of the fragments.

The hidden treasure also contained some joyful gems: two angel figures from the altar canopy, with their hands and feet detached and preserved. These crippled victims of World War Two have been waiting to see the light for decades. They perfectly fit the surviving details on the canopy, giving the restorers from the Tsarskoe Selo Amber Workshop a great chance to mend what was once broken by the war.

Above (click to enlarge): Angels, 18th century
Below (click to enlarge): Angel figures fitting with details of Altar Canopy

The Palace Chapel was looted during the Nazi occupation of Tsarskoe Selo in the 1940s. Its paintings were almost completely lost and its gilt carvings scattered around the park.

The interior underwent conservation during the Soviet period. Back then the primary task was to restore the Golden Enfilade of the palace. Alexander Kedrinsky, the museum’s head architect was dreaming of when he would start to revive the Chapel. He designed the restoration project, but full-scale works began only in 2015 with financial assistance by Gazprom.

Below (click to enlarge): Fragments found hidden in Altar

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