For almost 50 years, three medieval stained glass windows looted from the Church of the Virgin Mary in Frankfurt an der Oder after World War Two were held in what is now St. Petersburg. The Russian parliament only allowed their return in 2002.
The windows survived the transport and storage in relatively good shape. Nonetheless, the three restorers, Gerlinde Möhrle, Sandra Meinung and Nicole Sterzing, still had a lot of work ahead of them as a result of missing pieces and cracks in the glass, as well as centuries of corrosion. Two of the 111 panes were half destroyed and had to have special glass from Bavaria added to them.
To trace and touch up the scenes, the panes were placed on a light table to clearly distinguish the colored glass from the black led meshwork. In order to detect hairline fractures and corrosion damage, the restorers used a stereo microscope from Carl Zeiss, which could be adjusted to the various applications thanks to its modular design. It magnifies objects up to 400x so that tiny cracks appear as large as a quarry. A surgical microscope from Carl Zeiss was also used. Under the microscope, the restorers used filigree tools to put these individual pieces together again.
The windows were returned to their rightful place in 2007 in the church which was rebuilt after 1992. Inhabitants and visitors to the city can now once again enjoy the beauty of the historically valuable stained glass panes in their full glory when.
December 2, 2008