Recovery of the cultural values
On April 24, 2014 in the framework of the Week of Germany in St.Petersburg upon the initiative of the German side the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” had received documents and sketches of the altar paintings and statues by I.Vitali, executed by Johahn Conrad Dorner.
Johahn Conrad Dorner - German artist and portrait painter. He had studied at the Munich Academy of Arts, and from 1843-1853 had worked and created in St Petersburg, where he had also received the title of the academic of the historical painting. He had executed a few portraits of the members of the Royal family. In 1847-1852 he had made 12 icons for the altar barrier of St Isaacs Cathedral which separates the central aisle from the side-altars of St.Catherine and St.Alexander Nevsky. The oil painted figures of saints are framed into an ornamental relief background, produced by using gold leaf and quartz sand.
After J.Dorner’s death the folder that contained his documents and sketches of the images for St Isaac’s Cathedral had been stored by Pfaff family in Germany. For many years the members of the family were looking for the opportunity to pass the artist’s heritage to the “St Isaac’s Cathedral” museum. They came to St Petersburg with this purpose before but found no response. And only many years later due to the efforts of the scientific director of “Russian museums during war period” project Wolfgang Aihvede, the decision to give the folder as a gift to the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” was made. This initiative was supported by the government of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.
The ceremony of the return of the cultural values had taken place in St Isaac’s Cathedral in the presence of representatives of the administration of St Petersburg, the government of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, representatives from the diplomatic corps, prominent politicians, artists and businessmen. The Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of Bremen Martin Guntner had given 40 objects of Johahn Dorner’s heritage to the director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” Nikolay Burov. Among the objects were sketches of the Cathedral’s icons, the artist’s notebook with the images outlines, and the international passport with the seal of the Russian Emperor.
According to the requirements of the Imperial Academy of Arts the artist had to draw maximum amount of the sketches for every image. That is why a special value of this gift lays in the opportunity to trace the whole process of the creative interpretation of the images, their evolution, and the different stages of the artist’s work.
The Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral under the direction of the Honored artist of Russia Vladimir Begletsov had performed at the ceremony. The event had ended with the concert of the soloists of the Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen - one of the most renowned musical collectives of Germany.
After the press conference the exhibition was opened.
The press conference was attended by:
- Director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” Nikolay Burov
- Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of Bremen Martin Guntner
- Vice Governor of St Petersburg Vasily Kichedzi
- General Consul of Germany Haike Paich
- Professor and scientific director of “Russian museums during war period” project Wolfgang Aihvede
- Head of St Petersburg Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation Vladimir Zapevalov
The projected was supported by LSR Group and Hotel “Astoria”