The Hezilo-candlesticks

The Hezilo-candlesticks are hanging in the Hildesheim basilica St. Godehard, which is bishop's church during the construction work from end of march 2010 until the end of the cathedral restoration.

With a diameter of about 6 m it is the largest out of four medieval circle-candlesticks in the German-speaking area (Barbarossa-candlesticks in Aachen, Hartwig-candlesticks on the Großcomburg (a castle) as well as the Azelin-candlesticks in Hildesheim). It was last thoroughly reworked during the years 1901/02. In part serious damages on foreordinations and material of the candlesticks caused the ground for the recent measures, which required from 2002 till 2007. The total costs were about 1,3 millions euros.



The candlesticks symbolizes the vision when times are ending, the out of god's heaven downcoming sacred city, the „Celestial Jerusalem“ with its 12 gates, how the text of the revelation of St. John is describing it. The effect of 72 candles, which brightened the darkness of space in church during the mornings resp. the evenings, has been impressing for the churchgoers.

By the dark painted, barely visible supporting structure the candlesticks seemed to hover and therewith indeed „to come down from heaven“. The virtually splendour of the masterpiece at its edification can't be comprehended down to the present day, as there is less known about former gems of figures.

Construction- and Reperationhistory

The circle-candlesticks were ordered by bishop Hezilo (1054-79) for the Hildesheim cathedral, which was rebuilt by him. The first known mention in a document dates from the year 1276. Sources of the 16th century refer to damages of the candlesticks, which resulted in the first documented restoration by goldsmith Sebastian Korber. The second known major restoration took place in 1818 at the inducement of vicar Todt, after in the course of baroqueing the interior at the begin of the 18th century already the removing of the candlesticks was contemplated.

The third – and last up to now – all-embracing restoration was ran by professor Küsthardt during the years 1901/02. Electric light replaces the candles since 1904. During the rough-and-tumble in the second World War the candlesticks were removed 1943, split and elsewhere kept safe. Hereby the masterpiece came through the destruction of the Hildesheim cathedral in the year 1945. Before the candlesticks took up their place in the rebuilt cathedral in 1960, they hung after a poor cleaning in 1949 in the St. Bernward's church in Hildesheim for 10 years.

Stated aim of the latest restoration was the cautious protection and reconstruction of the candlesticks. The preservation of inventory and function is cardinally condition; measures for the reconstruction of former constructionconditions were not made. Interfering and damaging coatings, layer of paints and corrosionproducts were removed from the plates. All of the existent gildings are preserved, even if there were corrosionproducts under the gold. Fixed mountings and rivets were not detached, as far as it wasn't mandatory for the removal of disruptive and damaging layers. Were damaged parts repaired, the reperation was made, orientated on the inventory, in mechanic goldsmiths methods. The static structure is preserved. The supporting structure remained in the cathedral during the restoration and wasn't worked on. Particular assembly units were obtained bit by bit, replaced by „dummies“ at the candlesticks, restorated and finally installed again. The decomposition of the groups into single structural elements and their restoration was made in the restorationworkshop on-site (Domhof 24).