Johannes Voldemar Veski, plaster bust restoration

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A day before the Estonian Mother Tongue Day, on the 13th of March, a bust of Johannes Voldemar Veski was presented as a permanent exhibit in the 4th floor lobby of University of Tartu Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics. He was a prominent linguist, who dedicated his life to the development and research of Estonian language.
The life-sized bust was donated to the institute by Tõnis Luik.

The restoration of this statue started in the summer of 2016 and was finished by the beginning of December. Mainly suffering from loss of surface finish and some minor cracks and material loss, the statue was generally stable, but not fit for presentation. The restoration consisted of stabilizing the cracks in the fingers, reconstructing minor lacunae and repainting areas where experiencing whole of the statue suffered due to paint loss. All additions were made with reversibility in mind, with documentation of restored areas archived by the company. The author and date of the work are unknown and research into possible options did not prove without a doubt a definitive author. The base was constructed by TMF Wood, the brass label by Gravex Tartu.


Päev enne emakeelepäeva, 13. märtsil, avati Tartu Ülikooli eesti keele ja üldkeeleteaduse instituudi 4. korruse fuajees teeneka keeleteadlase Johannes Voldemar Veski portreebüst.
Elusuuruses kipsportree annetas instituudile Tõnis Luik.

Restaureerimisse jõudis kuju 2016 aasta juunikuus, mil selle värvikiht oli mitmes kohas kahjustada saanud, esines väikseid mõrasid sõrmedes ja puudus väikseid fragmente sõrmeotstest, alaservast, pintsakureväärist. Tasapisi taastati kuju värvikaod ja viidi see eksponeeritavasse seisukorda. Samuti valmistati TMF Woodi poolt toekas postament ning Gravex Tartu töökojast telliti messingist etikett. Vaatamata konsultatsioonidele ja taustauuringutele ei suudetud kahjuks kahtluseta kindlaks määrata, kas kuju autoriks oli Juhan Paberit, Aleksander Kaasik, Elmar Rebane või keegi neljas.

HK ReSku (OÜ Belify)

Conservation of altar statue in St. Paul church, Tartu, Estonia.

*Update on 11.07.2016:

“I finally completed my MA, and subsequently the practical conservation and theoretical analysis of the altar statue is concluded. The thesis can be found on: Thesis

It was a long road to this point, and I would have hoped to have a complete exhibition of the statue set up by my graduation, but as things lay I doubt it will be completed before the statue’s 100th birthday in 2023. I will however look for opportunities to make it happen, either by donations or some grant project, as it would be a shame to leave things unfinished after years of work.” -HK

Cleaning with distilled water and brushes:

Cleaning of the statue

Overview of cleaned statue before exposition, after cleaning:

Summer restoration works.

I. April- May, Kuressaare Laurentian Church pulpit base  (H&M Restudio)

II. June- Soviet realism sculpture copies, concrete, Viljandi sports school (Restitutor OÜ)




III. July- August, Balustrade restoration in Kadrioru Palace, Concrete lion crests (KAR -Grupp)Image



MA in Restoration and Cultural Heritage Management

That’s what I am working towards for the next two years (at least). Mainly focusing on stone conservation and conservation methodology,  I hope to use a number of case studies to define specific methods etc. (Basically I’m still working on the details)

So far there are three projects I hope to be able to work on: the destroyed altar statue of Tartu Pauluse church, the pulpit in Kuressaare Laurentian church and something in Haapsalu, of which I have yet to recieve specific information.

My general idea was to work with materials that are familiar to me, to get a deeper understanding of the problems I may encounter and to improve my proffessional network. So far, living in Tallinn and studying in the Estonian Art Academy has been a very inspiring experience. I hope to proceed with the field.
Also, on the side I am still doing sculptures and drawing.

Restoration of a medieval tomb slab in the church of St. Nicholas in Tallinn

My diploma project entailed restoring a medieval tomb slab dated 1631. In addition to the physical restoration and conservation there was research into the materials, history of the environment of the slab and documentation of the processes. The full thesis can be accessed here: link, with the overview of the practical project here: link.
All in all it was an interesting experience and the committe gave me a C for the entire project. I am especially grateful to my instructor Isabel Aaso – Zahradnikova who provided the opportunity and gave advice throughout the process.

As of 22.06.2012 I am a certified sculptor/restorator. Currently seeking options for further studies and also opportunities for applying myself. It is an interesting moment, being at the proverbial crossroads of focusing on either art and sculpture or restoration. As soon as possible I hope to set up my own creative space somewhere in Tartu.

Also- wooden sculptures are a project in progress.