Many sites of the Reformation have been restored in time for its anniversary year, sites like the ’s Germanisches Nationalmuseum are currently undergoing restoration; at the very least, the cleaning stage will be complete by Easter. It is not just the ravages of time that have eroded the seven Stations of the Cross since 1500. Soot, heavy metals and wars and not least nineteenth-century painters have all had an impact on the relief. When stone restorer Katrin Müller gets to work with her laser, she is often left shaking her head in astonishment.or, most recently, the . But other religious works of art will also greet 2017’s jubilee in new splendour: Adam Kraft’s Stations of the Cross in
“I can hardly get at it with my stylus, but Adam Kraft managed with his tools,” relates an amazed Müller. As a highly-qualified restorer she has come across a great deal in her career, but cannot contain her enthusiasm when she talks about her work on Kraft’s stone relief depicting scenes of the Passion. She has been working on the relief in the Nationalmuseum’s Carthusian church without interruption since 2015, removing sections and free-standing pieces – mainly to clean them up.
For the seven depictions of Christ’s route to Golgatha were not always displayed in a protected museum. For centuries, they were located on the pilgrim’s way from Nuremberg’s old centre to St. John’s Cemetery, built into house or garden walls. Hence, they have also been painted or even had foreign materials added.
A laser removes the crust of environmental influences
During the nineteenth century, painters at the Nuremberg academy of fine art attempted to decorate the relief, using organic substances such as resin or shellac. Over the centuries, the sandstone has also been exposed to all kinds of environmental pollution, creating a substantial crust that is now being removed bit by bit using a 20-watt laser.
Dark discolorations are being removed, and the various pieces of the relief are also to be brought into a uniform state, rendering it recognisable as a whole work of art again. The first pieces were salvaged in the late nineteenth century, the last shortly after the Second World War.