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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

According to the original drawings of Fyodor Shekhtel, the appearance of the main facade was recreated, the historical decor was restored, and cast-iron lanterns were installed.

Restoration work has been completed in the Khudozhestvenny cinema located on Arbat Square. It was founded in 1909 and became the first Moscow cinema to have its own building.

“In 1909 the first cinema was opened in Moscow. And Muscovites watched this miracle. 111 years later, a new miraculous event happened. This is the completion of the restoration and restoration of the Khudozhestvenny cinema and the return of an amazing object with which the fate of many generations is closely intertwined. Millions of Muscovites were anxiously waiting for Khudozhestvenny to come back to life. Will not just come back to life, but return in its original splendor and beauty. And of course, already with modern devices, modern capabilities, “- said Sergei Sobyanin, having visited the oldest cinema in the capital.

Cinema as art

“Khudozhestvenny” was opened by the entrepreneur Albert Broksh – the manager of the Varvarinsky joint-stock company of homeowners. He also owned the plot on Arbat Square. “Brox’s Cinematograph” – this is how the cinema was recorded in the documents. The first show took place on November 11, 1909, 400 people saw the premiere of the French drama Georgette.

Viewers were asked to perceive cinema as art and watch it in an appropriate setting. It was a real revolution, because at the beginning of the century, cinema was shown in Moscow where it was necessary – in ordinary rooms that were not suitable for screenings. Visitors often had to stand, and the use of flammable celluloid film often led to fires.

The original building of “Khudozhestvenny” – a one-story Art Nouveau palace – was built by the architect Nikolai Blagoveshchensky. He had extensive experience working with electricity (from the 1890s he served in the Electric Lighting Society and was the author of several buildings of the power plant on Raushskaya embankment), which affected the electrical equipment of the cinema – it was impeccable, and the building itself was as safe as possible in terms of fire.

The building was striking in its rich design: the foyer was lit by openwork chandeliers, there was also a fountain and an orchestra played, palm trees stood in tubs. In addition, it was the only cinema that performed home delivery of ordered tickets.

A few years after the opening, the most fashionable cinema of the city could no longer accommodate everyone. The new owner, director Alexander Khanzhonkov, invited the architect Fyodor Shekhtel to reconstruct the building. As a result, in 1912–1913, the eclectic decor was replaced by the more rigorous neoclassicism. Thus, the entrances were decorated with niches with antique reliefs – small projections-risalits with paired pilasters and semicircular lunettes. After the restructuring, the capacity of the cinema has more than doubled – there were over 900 seats.

A guide to Moscow in the 1930s noted: “There are 946 seats in the theater; musical illustration of silent films – orchestra; in the foyer, in a special hall every 45 minutes, a demonstration of the latest newsreels, a mother and child room, a reading room, chess and checkers, a buffet. In the summer, pop concerts in the garden at the theater. “

In 1955, the first wide screen in Moscow was installed in the cinema. For many years “Khudozhestvenny” was the main cinema in the country, where the premieres were shown. Among them are the outstanding silent films “Kinoglaz” by Dziga Vertov (1924) and “Battleship Potemkin” “by Sergei Eisenstein (1926), the first sound and first color films by Nikolai Ekk” A Way to Life “(1931) and” Grunya Kornakov “(1936 ), as well as the first wide-screen film “Ilya Muromets” by Alexander Ptushko (1956).

In 1992, the building was recognized as a cultural heritage site of regional importance. By the early 2010s, it was in extremely unsatisfactory condition. The brickwork has been partially destroyed by moisture and fungus, and the historic ceiling trusses have lost their bearing capacity.

Unfortunately, most of the decoration of “Khudozhestvennoye” could not survive the 20th century, during which the cinema was fired upon by White Guard cadets, bombed by German aircraft and rebuilt under the motto of combating architectural excesses.

Recreate according to Shechtel’s drawings

The decision to carry out a comprehensive restoration of the historic building of the Khudozhestvenny cinema was made by the Moscow Government; work on the agreed project began in the fall of 2019.

The team of restorers faced a serious task: it was necessary not only to restore the architectural monument, preserving the ideas of Fyodor Shekhtel, but also to take into account all the latest cinema technologies so that films could be shown in the building again, but at the most modern level.

Several architectural firms were involved in the restoration project. The funds for the work were allocated by private investors.

“Combining history with the present and reviving the object to life is, of course, worth a lot. In Moscow, at the expense of the city budget and federal departments, we are carrying out huge restoration work, one of the largest in the world. I am very grateful to the people who are investing their resources, money and opportunities to help revive the history and cultural heritage of our country and Moscow, ”said Sergei Sobyanin.

Sberbank President German Gref thanked the Mayor of Moscow and his team and noted that the restoration was carried out as soon as possible – in just a year and two months. He also expressed gratitude to the restorers and builders who participated in the restoration work.

“For Muscovites, this facility is of particular importance, and many were waiting for its opening. And now they have received a cinema with four halls, a large one and three small ones, with the most modern acoustics available in the world, with beautiful images. The cinema will open its doors in December, ”said German Gref.

Work at the facility was carried out around the clock. The restoration of the 2.6 thousand square meters cinema began with emergency work: in the first months, specialists cleaned and strengthened the facades and repaired the roof. We managed to preserve two original roof trusses made of rolled corners and strips of German assortment metal and assembled with rivets. They were installed on their own supports: on the one hand, the farm is rigidly attached to the wall, and on the other, it can move under the influence of temperature.

The appearance of the main (western) facade was recreated according to the original drawings of Fyodor Shekhtel. It is decorated with terrasite coating and is as close as possible to the appearance of 1913. The laid-up window openings were revealed, the historical decor was restored – male and female mascarons, bas-reliefs depicting the ancient gods Helios and Selena, as well as the inscriptions “Enter”, “Exit” and, of course, the main one – “Art Electro-Theater”. Elegant cast iron lanterns have returned to their historical places (on both sides of each doorway). They were also made according to Shekhtel’s sketches.

A feature of the spatial planning composition of the main auditorium is the balcony. In recent years, spectators were not allowed on it due to the threat of collapse. The balcony itself and its structures were in disrepair, but the restorers managed to preserve the fence, which was included in the protection of the monument. It was installed on a new supporting structure.

The stucco decoration of the ceiling was recreated under the balcony. The restored plaster faces of the god of wine Dionysus have returned to the pillars that support the balcony. On the left pillar of the eastern wall, the original capital has been preserved, which served as a model for reconstructing the rest of the capitals along the perimeter of the hall. Above the stage, stucco hippocampus reappeared, stretching out a medallion with their tails with the year of reconstruction of the cinema – 1912.

Hidden under the many layers of paint on the ceiling was an authentic metal ventilation grill. In its center there was a massive chandelier that has not survived to our time. During the work, the grate was dismantled, cleaned of paint, the lost elements (leaves, rods, openwork mesh) were recreated and returned to their rightful place.

During the work, the restorers received an invaluable gift: in the process of dismantling, they discovered ceiling caissons by Shekhtel. They were carefully restored and placed in the control room. The complex sound filling of a modern cinema is hidden behind the coffered ceiling of the hall.

In the foyer, the preserved ceiling cornice and frieze were restored. The historical staircase designed by Shekhtel, faced with light marble, has become a real decoration of the interiors of the cinema. It was rebuilt on the basis of two genuine dolomite steps. It leads from the north foyer to the balcony of the main hall.

Experts have returned previously lost wooden window fillings. The frames are made of light larch, the fittings are made of soft shining brass. Oak doors were recreated from photographs from the beginning of the century.

A large stained-glass window was restored according to the drawings of Fyodor Shekhtel. In the 1990s, it was lost and for a long time a plastic window stood in its place. A fountain, conceived by the architect and later lost, will work again nearby. Its location and dimensions have been reflected in the fixation drawings, and the original base has been preserved in the foyer.

Unique cinema projectors and audio system

Khudozhestvenny plans to host the first spectators at the end of December. It will be a premiere cinema and festival center, the program of which will present world cinema in all its diversity. A significant part of the schedule will be occupied by festivals and retrospectives prepared in cooperation with international cultural institutions.

Four halls will be opened in “Khudozhestvenny”: the main one will have 474 seats, two small ones – 47 seats each, and the chamber one – 21 seats. High-contrast Barco laser cinema projectors are installed in each room, which ensure maximum brightness and reproduce colors without distortion, while the screen does not glare or glare. Only 17 cinemas in the world can boast of similar equipment. The cinema also has a film projector, which allows showing films not only from a digital copy, but also from 35 mm film.

The Dolby Atmos audio system is responsible for high-quality sound. It is thought out taking into account all the architectural features of the building. For the complex configuration of the main hall, which unites the parterre, the balcony and the area below it, a special solution has been developed that will make the sound of the same quality at all points in the room. The technical equipment is organically integrated into the interior and preserves the historical appearance of the main hall.

An electronic poster has been installed on the main facade of the cinema – it took the same place where the famous posters of “Khudozhestvenny” were previously placed.

“I would like to congratulate all Muscovites on the new opening of the first cinema in Moscow. Today, 111 years after its construction and 108 years after its restoration by the great architect Shekhtel, it is again available to the residents of our city, “added German Gref.

Restoration of Moscow monuments

Since 2011, 1,593 cultural heritage sites have been restored in Moscow. Works on 99 of them were completed in 2020. The most significant objects of restoration in 2020, in addition to the Khudozhestvenny cinema, were Northern river station,House of Narkomfin, Orlov-Denisov’s house on Bolshaya Lubyanka.

According to Sergei Sobyanin, a huge amount of restoration work has been carried out this year, many objects have been transformed: “About 500 more are under construction. We do not stop the restoration and revival of Moscow for a single day. “

The number of Moscow monuments that are in an unsatisfactory condition has decreased since 2010 by 5.3 times. The share of monuments in good and satisfactory condition increased from 66 to 94 percent.

Since 2011, 55 churches have been completely restored in Moscow. Work in 34 of them was carried out under the city program of subsidies to religious organizations. In 2020, restorers are working in 41 churches, including 10 religious objects under the city subsidy program.

Since 2012, 24 emergency architectural monuments have been leased to private investors as part of the Moscow Government’s program “1 ruble per 1 square meter”. Comprehensive restoration of 19 buildings has been completed. Work continues at five sites.

In addition, in 2011–2019, the restoration of 111 works of monumental art and 426 architectural and artistic gravestones and objects of the historical and military necropolis, which are objects of cultural heritage, was completed. In 2020, work was carried out on 30 graves with artistic tombstones in the Armenian, Vagankovsky, Donskoy and Novodevichy cemeteries.

The monuments to N.V. Gogol on Gogolevsky and Nikitsky boulevards, Yuri Dolgoruky on Tverskaya square, V.V. Vorovsky on Kuznetsky Most, D.N. Pryanishnikov on the street named after him, A.A. Fadeev on Miusskaya Square.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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