New Museum Berlin – Restoration of the East Tympanum

Restoration of the East Tympanum

Displayed are five allegorical figures in twice life-size. Represented are the personifications of the Arts (Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Graphics), being instructed by History. As the central female figure, the relief depicts the Allegory of History. On either side of her, as seated and reclining figures, are the Allegories of the Visual Arts (Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, and Graphics). The five figures are executed as high reliefs and almost fully sculpted in the round. They are all depicted in the same scale. The figures fill the space of the tympanum, both in height and depth. They project up to the edge of the cornice and in some parts even beyond it, leaving them largely exposed to the elements.

By the time of the restoration of the East Tympanum in 1997, the eastern tympanum relief was in a disastrous overall condition. The protective color coatings, renewed until the 1930s, had largely weathered away. In combination with the limited protective effect of the narrow overhanging cornice, this led to immense and deep-seated damage to the original substance due to continuous direct exposure to the weather. Losses of entire sculptural areas and impairments of the underlying masonry due to direct war effects caused accelerated damage progression through exposed fracture surfaces, crack formations, exposed reinforcements, etc. The restoration also included the structural securing and supplementation of lost artistic details. After removing numerous older additions, the missing parts were reconstructed in the original manner of production. Due to war damage, extensive parts of the central figure, as well as the head of the Allegory of Painting, were lost. The entire area could be fully restored based on a historical photo of the tympanum.




Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning