Work on the reconstruction and restoration of the statue of Pobednik (The Winner) in Kalemegdan will begin today with the preparation of the work on a part of the platform on which the monument stands, said Nevenka Novakovic, the author of the reconstruction and restoration project, at a press conference at the Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Monuments in Belgrade.
In 35 years the horizontal displacement at the base of the statue has increased by 30%. Damage to the bronze sculpture and its connection to the stone pedestal and base was reported as early as 1989, when a programme of corrective measures and conservation was devised.
The project for the rehabilitation and conservation of the monument in 1991 stated that the repair of the damage was limited and reduced to cleaning, filling cracks and protection.
According to Nevenka Novakovic, the proper rehabilitation of that part of the monument requires the replacement of stone blocks under the foot of the Pobednik, the dismantling of the bronze sculpture and the restoration of connections between the base and the sculpture.
“The monument was tilted mainly because of its weight and its elevation on an unconsolidated embankment. The first fault in the monument was recorded immediately after its placement in 1928 and has not been repaired to date,” said Novakovic, adding that in 1996, static rehabilitation work was undertaken to stop the movement of the monument, but the work was done badly and the inclination was not stopped.
There are holes in the monument as a result of Belgrade’s turbulent history, as well as cracks in the feet through which water flows into the sculpture itself.
“There is nothing more harmful to the monuments than water because it freezes during the winter. Ice has a different volume to water and causes cracks. The connections between the pedestal and the pillar on which the sculpture stands are corroded, which is the biggest problem for the monument as a whole,” said Novakovic, adding that the pedestal has a lot of damage and that the stone has become very degraded.
The work on the pedestal and the pillar of the monument requires the consolidation of the joints and the replacement of the stone blocks of the circular pedestal, which have been damaged to such an extent that they no longer have a bearing capacity.
The sculpture will be temporarily transferred to the workshop of the sculptor Zoran Kuzmanovic in Smederevo where the restoration will begin.
(Sputnik News, 27,08.2019)
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