During restoration work in Culture Ministry’s building, experts unexpectedly discovered fragments of unique paintwork by Julijs Madernieks.
Wall paintwork produced in the style of national romanticism from ‘20s of the last century was discovered during inspection of the ministry’s fireplace hall performed by specialists of Būvuzņēmums Restaurators. Unique paintwork was discovered after the dismantling of built-in chairs and wooden panels in the room.
The building that now houses Latvia’s Culture Ministry was previously home to Friendship Society that kept in contact with compatriots abroad. Activities of this organization were kept under tight surveillance by the KGB. During that period, the fireplace hall of the building was painted multiple times, which left historic decorative elements buried under several layers of lime and oil paint. Because of that, specialists had no idea there was much more to the building than there seemed at first glance. It is thanks to the careful research performed by Inese Ozolina that it was possible to discover Madernieks’ paintwork. During the restoration process, it was possible to partially restore his work.
«Upon finishing restoration work, part of the historic paintwork has been set up in a special exposition area in the fireplace hall. It is free to be viewed by any visitor to Culture Ministry. Part of those fragments, however, remains preserved under layers to woodwork. Unfortunately, it is only possible to look at them from pictures made during restoration work. They are also available for visitors to check out,» – explains Būvuzņēmums Restaurators chairperson Mareks Mamajs, adding that Madernieks’ paintwork was not the only interesting find in this project: «Restoration was performed on the fireplace, parquet and ceiling with all decorative elements. Work was also performed on the wooden wall panels. It is rare for so much restoration work to be carried out in such a small room.»