Restoration of Copper Icon Collection from the 17th to 20th Century in Kirillov

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In anticipation of the centenary celebration of the Kirillo-Belozersky Museum-Reserve in 2024, a copper collection containing around 200 artifacts from the 17th to the early 20th century has been fully restored, as reported by TASS. Among the items are artifacts from an Old Believer prayer house, closed in the 1930s, according to the museum-reserve.

The collection comprises 182 objects, including icons, folding icons, and crucifixes. The majority are copper castings from the Old Believers. The collection's assembly began after the museum's opening in 1924. In honor of the museum-reserve's 100th anniversary, metalworkers were able to complete the restoration of the entire collection, as stated by the press service under the guidance of the director general of the Kirillo-Belozersky Museum-Reserve, Mikhail Sharomazov.

Between 1924 and 1945, the museum acquired 60 artifacts, mostly from monasteries and temples, including Kirillo-Belozersky, Ferapontov, Goritsky, Kazan Cathedral in Kirillov, as well as parish churches in Vashkinsky district and the Borovanskaya Church in Kirillovsky district. A significant amount of copper casting was acquired between 1960 and 1980 – a total of 129 items from private individuals and museum staff expeditions. A unique acquisition was copper casting from 44 items, crafted by Old Believer masters. These artifacts were obtained in 1985 from the village of Nesterovskaya, Novlensky rural council, Vologda district, donated by Elena Kalyagina. They were housed in an Old Believer prayer house closed in the 1930s.

In preparation for the museum-reserve's artistic anniversary, restorers Natalia and Svetlana Smirnova completed the restoration of the entire collection. Svetlana Smirnova, the deputy director of the museum-reserve, emphasized that during the work, corrosion processes were stabilized, artifact surfaces were cleaned of dirt and corrosion, toned, and preserved. All items acquired an exhibition-worthy appearance.

The restoration not only preserves the historical and cultural heritage but also provides an opportunity for future generations to appreciate the craftsmanship and significance of these unique artifacts.

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