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Restorer-Conservators Seeking Historical Close-Up Photographs of a Statue of the Archaeologist Winckelmann

Friedrichswerdersche Kirche

Restorer-conservators and staff at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin face an unusual challenge. They are searching for black-and-white photographs of a sculpture currently being restored. The work in question is a statue of the archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann that stood in the portico of the Altes Museum (Old Museum) from 1840 to 1935.

“Berlin Seeks the Torso in Winkelmann’s Hand”

The search is actually for detailed photographs taken between 1840 and 1935 that distinctly show the object in the sitter’s hand: a classical figure’s torso, which in the context of the statue symbolised Winkelmann’s study of antiquity.

The torso in Winkelmann’s hand has been broken off above the hips, along with the fingers holding it. A restorer-conservator, in collaboration with a sculptor and a copyist, is now attempting to rectify this damage and replicate the classical torso. This can best be done using authentic close-up photographs of the statue in its original condition taken between 1840 and 1935.

A grant from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung (EvSK, Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation) has made the restoration work possible, despite austerity measures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Now, however, the project is dependent on help from the public. Who has photographs of the marble statue in the Altes Museum taken between 1840 and 1935 that clearly show the complete classical torso in Winkelmann’s left hand?

If you have such photographic material, we look forward to receiving it by 30 September 2020 at praktikant.evs-kunststiftung[at] The contact person is Marie Ellersiek. 

Restoration of the Sculpture for the Opening of the Friedrichswerder Church

The statue’s restoration is supposed to be completed in time for its presentation at the reopening of the Friedrichswerderscher Kirche (Friedrichswerder Church) on 27 October 2020, so the search is a pressing matter. The EvSK is assisting the project during the search campaign.