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News: Germany
One of the remaining courtyard murals in central Berlin that will be restored. Photo Credit: Wolfgang Bittner / The Art Newspaper.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Berlin 19th-century murals are to be restored

They have been damaged by the weather

Ten murals in Berlin, will be restored after a decision by the Berlin Heritage Authority. The murals were created for the housing complexes offering residents a peaceful view in the city’s hectic lifestyle. The names of the artists who created the murals are not known, but specialists believe they were theatre-set painters.

One of the murals, dating to c. 1904 and depicting an Alpine landscape, has been damaged by exposure to sun and rain, its paint has cracked and peeled and the plaster is crumbling away. It is located in Erich Weinert Strasse in the Prenzlauer Berg district, in the courtyard of a tenement block.

The Berlin Heritage Authority is now considering their restoration, but the aim is not to try and paint over the missing parts, since there is no documentation of the murals’ original state. The cracks and missing plaster will of course be filled, with the use of needling techniques. The mural was painted with a fresco-secco technique with pigments and oil, so the specialists who will perform the work are not easy to find. A sheltering roof will also be placed above the mural to protect it from future damage.

Some of the murals are officially considered protected heritage, so homeowners have to contribute to the cost of their restoration. In one block in Kreuzberg, a mural showing a scene from Don Giovanni is already undergoing restoration works. The owners of the flats contributing half of the cost needed, namely €40,000, and the Berlin Heritage Authority is funding the rest.

In 1995 there were at least 25 murals, but many have now been lost after the construction rise after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

NOTES