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Press Service of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the City of Moscow

Specialists have been restoring sculptures made of zinc alloy for six months.

Restored sculptures of the goddess of health Hygieia (Hygea) were installed on the facade of the building of the former Ferrein pharmacy. For 120 years they have never been restored, their condition was emergency.

Four identical statues of the goddess of health are the main feature of the external decoration of the building. In ancient Greek mythology, Hygieia was the daughter of the god of healing Asclepius. The goddess is depicted in a chiton (ancient Greek dress without sleeves), tied with a belt, and an upper cape – peplos. A small snake wraps around her right hand, and Hygieia holds a bowl in her left. Her hairstyle is typical of Greek sculptures – curled hair at the back is gathered in a low bun, and in front, it is lowered to the forehead.

Specialists have been restoring sculptures made of zinc alloy for six months. In the workshop, restorers cleaned them from dirt, corrosion, removed damage, through holes on the surface. After that, the craftsmen carried out a three-dimensional scan of the sculptures and, in a special program, built models of the lost elements. They were made of plastic using a 3D printer. The models were then used as molds in order to create the missing zinc alloy elements that are completely identical to the original alloy. The final stage was the strengthening of the framework of the sculptures and the coating of their surface with special protective compounds.

“Today, after a long-awaited restoration, the sculptures of the goddess of health Hygieia have returned to the façade of the famous building of the former Ferrein pharmacy. The work on their installation was carried out by specialists at night, as in the case of dismantling. On the aerial platform, with the help of safety devices, they were fixed to the building. It was necessary to work as carefully as possible, because the zinc alloy from which the statues are made is very fragile. The masonry of the facade also had to be treated with care. The installation was carried out at a height of 12 meters (at the level of the third floor), which created additional difficulties. Now the sculptures are decorating the building again, the residents of the capital can admire them, ”said the head

Moscow City Heritage Alexey Emelyanov.

Restoration of four sculptures completed on the facade of the former Ferrein pharmacy

The building of the former Ferrein pharmacy is located at Nikolskaya Street, 19-21, Building 2. This is a cultural heritage site of regional significance, therefore, all restoration work that has not yet been completed is carried out under the supervision of the Moscow City Heritage Agency and according to the project agreed with the department.

In the late 19th – early 20th centuries, the pharmacy was the most famous in Moscow and the largest in Europe. Due to her lush decoration she was nicknamed “the tsar-pharmacy”.

A pharmacy on Nikolskaya Street in 1862 was opened by an honorary citizen of Moscow, Karl Ferrein. In 1872, he handed it over to his son Vladimir Ferrein (1834–1918), a year later he expanded the family business by renting and remodeling part of a nearby building. All premises were equipped to serve visitors, warehouses appeared. It conducted research, theoretical and practical classes in pharmaceutical disciplines. In 1881, Ferrein innovated to encourage employees to work – he gave them the opportunity to participate in a share of the company’s income, which is why it became known as the “V.K. Ferrein “.

By the end of the 19th century, the building on the Nikolskaya pharmacy became crowded and it was rebuilt again. Thanks to the architect Adolf Erichson, it acquired the familiar look: a four-story house with a basement, four statues of the ancient Greek goddess of health Hygieia on the facade and a turret-shaped chimney. Then the pharmacy was decorated with a clock that has not survived to this day.

Ferrein’s pharmacy has become a unique pharmaceutical enterprise: medicines that were previously imported from abroad were carefully studied and analyzed there in order to prepare analogues. In addition to the pharmacy on Nikolskaya at the “Partnership of V.K. Ferrein “there were pharmacies in the city, several laboratories (they carried out a lot of analyzes, including soil, water, food), a glass-blowing workshop, a factory of chemical products in the city of Mologa, Yaroslavl province (flooded in 1946 by the Rybinsk reservoir), as well as two plantations of medicinal plants – in the Crimea and the Podolsk district of the Moscow province (now – Butovo).

In 1917, the Ferrein family left Russia. In 1931, the All-Russian Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was organized in the Butovo estate with a rich botanical garden. Under Soviet rule, the former Ferrein pharmacy began to be called at first the central, then – pharmacy No. 1. It existed until 2000.

Adolf Erichson (1862-1940) – Russian architect of Swedish origin, master of modernism. He worked in the neo-Russian style, the eclectic style, as well as in the neoclassic style. Among his works is the estate of N.S. Tretyakov (Suschevskaya street, house 14; now – the library of arts named after A.P. Bogolyubov), Moscow central telephone exchange of the Swedish-Danish-Russian telephone joint-stock company (Milyutinsky pereulok, house 5), the house of the bank and the trading house “I.V. Juncker and Co “(street Kuznetsky Most, building 16/5).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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