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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bonn’s Beethoven monument to be restored

The statue, which is under a preservation order, is damaged by corrosion resulting from solar radiation. This needs to be repaired to avoid having dirt particles and water cause even more damage to the work.

By: Deutsche Welle | Bonn |
January 11, 2022 5:00:41 pm
Beethoven, Beethoven monument, Beethoven monument BonnBeethoven has been 'watching over' Bonn's Münsterplatz since 1845. (Oliver Berg/dpa/picture alliance)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) often rewrote and tweaked his works, but this time around it is the composer himself who will be getting a revamp — or more precisely, the famous statue of him on Bonn’s Münsterplatz.

The large bronze was removed from its base with a crane on January 5 for restoration.

With its base, the 7.8-meter-high (25.6-foot-high) monument weighs 6.6 tons.

However, Beethoven will not be traveling very far. A workshop in the Bonn area was rented for the monument’s restoration.

The statue, which is under a preservation order, is damaged by corrosion resulting from solar radiation. This needs to be repaired to avoid having dirt particles and water cause even more damage to the work.

The components of the monument are first to be cleaned, without however removing the historic patina of the bronze.

The individual parts will then be coated with microcrystalline wax to create a harmonious surface.

The concrete core of the base will be repaired directly on Münsterplatz.

The restoration project will be much shorter than the statue’s last repair, which lasted from 1963 to 1965. Beethoven is to return to his pedestal by the summer of this year.

Composers Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann and Shakespeare translator August Wilhelm von Schlegel were the main initiators of the monument, which was unveiled on August 12, 1845.

 

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Created by Dresden sculptor Ernst Julius Hähnel, it depicts Beethoven staring into the distance, holding a pen and paper as he reflects on his work.

British Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were at the inauguration, but their place of honor on a balcony behind the monument was not the best spot for the event. Her Royal Highness wasn’t quite pleased to discover the statue standing with its back to them.

To smooth over the faux-pas, explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt apparently said, “Yes, he has always been a rough fellow in his life, too.”

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