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Levkas restoration wizards conserve and revitalize amazing architectural gems. You have to admit it is anything but easy to repeat the work of the old architects in the 21st century. Levkas, headed by Valentina Kirillovich, is now performing comprehensive restoration on the Komissarzhevskaya Theater. In this work, the firm employs a scientific methodology involving visual inspection and study of archival documentary and photographic evidence in an effort to resuscitate the original interior design. The interior decoration in the theater bears motley traces of diverse epochs and styles. This is a challenge, but, according to Kirillovich, it makes the work all the more exciting. The grand lobby has already been completed. Putting together bits and pieces of old photographic evidence and existing parts, Levkas artists are now trying to resuscitate the unique molded decorations in the auditorium: a sewed-on ceiling where strips of stucco moldings form sectional panels decorated with wonderful artworks, including sculpted women’s heads symbolizing the Muse Melpomene, winged boys (a motif adored by Renaissance sculptors), lyres, masks, and various compositions. All these works are true masterpieces of great value. In the two top corners of the room, above the balcony, the artists are restoring the delicate cartouches which have been completely destroyed. Scraping off coats of paint, layer by layer, to reveal the original color, Levkas artists have stumbled upon fragments of unique paintings on the barriers of the balcony and the mezzanine. The artists have found out these fragments were part of the original design of the auditorium, and are going to restore them in their full splendor. Levkas will rely on historical evidence in restoring the door artwork and parquet floors in all the rooms. Good air circulation in the auditorium is an important task to be addressed by the restoration artists: they believe that comfort is integral to appreciating art. The artists are currently studying the options in a bid to provide an ideal ventilation solution that will not detract from the theater’s architecture. Valentina Kirillovich has contributed to the restoration of almost every theater in St. Petersburg, but holds Komissarzhevskaya Theater especially dear. This theater boasts a rich and eventful history, and its romantic atmosphere is highly conducive to creating and appreciating art. It was renamed Siege Theater and performed in besieged Leningrad in the autumn of 1942. Soon the company will resume performances in a rejuvenated building. Levkas’ hard-working restorers are convinced the actors and the audience will love what they did for them. Levkas 43 Prospekt M. Govorova 198095 St. Petersburg, Russia Tel./faks(812) 252-7261
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