Polished Beethoven returns to Bonn

6 Jul

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


The large bronze, which was removed from its base with a crane on January 5 for restoration, returned to its traditional location on Tuesday morning. With its base, the 7.8-meter-high (25.6-foot-high) monument weighs 6.6 tons. The statue, which is under a preservation order, was damaged by corrosion resulting from solar radiation. It needed to be repaired to avoid having dirt particles and water cause even more damage to the work.

The components of the monument were first cleaned, without however removing the historic patina of the bronze. The individual parts were then coated with microcrystalline wax to create a harmonious surface. The concrete core of the base was repaired directly on Münsterplatz. The 6-month restoration project was much shorter than the statue's last repair, which lasted from 1963 to 1965. Beethoven statue and a blue sky. Born in Bonn in 1770, Beethoven is the city's most famous resident. 

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. 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. Restored Beethoven statue in front of Bonn's Postamt, a yellow building with green shutters.

Back in full shine

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's always been a rough fellow in his life, too."


Author Torsten Landsberg

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