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Restauro del Germanico

Restauro del Germanico

Found in Sabina, the Germanico is mentioned by P.E. Visconti, in the Catalogo di Sculture Antiche del Museo Torlonia: “The head, found in part, yet shattered into tiny fragments, was restored on the basis of those pieces; as was a part of the arm and the straight leg.”
The sculpture was restored following its discovery, completing the missing or overly deteriorated parts in plaster. The original bronze parts includes the bust with the bent leg, while the restored parts include the head, both arms, the straight leg and the base with draping. In order to reinforce the structure, a complex iron supporting frame was introduced. The reintegrated parts of the sculpture, reconstructed very well from a stylistic point of view, were then polished with a dark hue in order to give the work a unitary look.
 

Restauro del Germanico

Found in Sabina, the Germanico is mentioned by P.E. Visconti, in the Catalogo di Sculture Antiche del Museo Torlonia: “The head, found in part, yet shattered into tiny fragments, was restored on the basis of those pieces; as was a part of the arm and the straight leg.”
The sculpture was restored following its discovery, completing the missing or overly deteriorated parts in plaster. The original bronze parts includes the bust with the bent leg, while the restored parts include the head, both arms, the straight leg and the base with draping. In order to reinforce the structure, a complex iron supporting frame was introduced. The reintegrated parts of the sculpture, reconstructed very well from a stylistic point of view, were then polished with a dark hue in order to give the work a unitary look.
 

After having buried the single wax shapes in refractory earth, the caster would then heat them up to melt and disperse the wax. In the gap left between the two walls of refractory earth, the molten bronze would then be poured, thus providing a faithful re

After having buried the single wax shapes in refractory earth, the caster would then heat them up to melt and disperse the wax. In the gap left between the two walls of refractory earth, the molten bronze would then be poured, thus providing a faithful re

Throughout the surface of the Germanico, a great quantity of repair patches is to be found, carried out on the cold metal and then hammered, in order to correct flaws due to air bubbles, cracks and soldering seams. Patches of an irregular shape, absent in

Throughout the surface of the Germanico, a great quantity of repair patches is to be found, carried out on the cold metal and then hammered, in order to correct flaws due to air bubbles, cracks and soldering seams. Patches of an irregular shape, absent in

The wax was applied to the inside of a negative cast taken from the original model of the Germanico, using surrounding plates prepared in advance, so as to obtain a constant thickness of what would then become the bronze surface.

The wax was applied to the inside of a negative cast taken from the original model of the Germanico, using surrounding plates prepared in advance, so as to obtain a constant thickness of what would then become the bronze surface.

On the bronze surface, the marks left by a scraper may still be seen: slightly farrowing the surface, it left bright and shiny traces. Such a tool, similar to a strigil, used by the caster to smoothen the rough surface of the bronze after the cast, is als

On the bronze surface, the marks left by a scraper may still be seen: slightly farrowing the surface, it left bright and shiny traces. Such a tool, similar to a strigil, used by the caster to smoothen the rough surface of the bronze after the cast, is als

After having cast the various parts of the sculpture separately, the caster then joins them together by soldering, smoothing the seam lines through the use of solder metals. On the Germanico, like in many other ancient statues of the human figure, it has

After having cast the various parts of the sculpture separately, the caster then joins them together by soldering, smoothing the seam lines through the use of solder metals. On the Germanico, like in many other ancient statues of the human figure, it has

The work is given a naturalistic touch with the aid of copper plating on the nipples; this suggests that the lips and perhaps also the eyes might have undergone a similar treatment.

The work is given a naturalistic touch with the aid of copper plating on the nipples; this suggests that the lips and perhaps also the eyes might have undergone a similar treatment.

Restauro del Germanico

Restauro del Germanico

After having buried the single wax shapes in refractory earth, the caster would then heat them up to melt and disperse the wax. In the gap left between the two walls of refractory earth, the molten bronze would then be poured, thus providing a faithful re

After having buried the single wax shapes in refractory earth, the caster would then heat them up to melt and disperse the wax. In the gap left between the two walls of refractory earth, the molten bronze would then be poured, thus providing a faithful re

Throughout the surface of the Germanico, a great quantity of repair patches is to be found, carried out on the cold metal and then hammered, in order to correct flaws due to air bubbles, cracks and soldering seams. Patches of an irregular shape, absent in

Throughout the surface of the Germanico, a great quantity of repair patches is to be found, carried out on the cold metal and then hammered, in order to correct flaws due to air bubbles, cracks and soldering seams. Patches of an irregular shape, absent in

The wax was applied to the inside of a negative cast taken from the original model of the Germanico, using surrounding plates prepared in advance, so as to obtain a constant thickness of what would then become the bronze surface.

The wax was applied to the inside of a negative cast taken from the original model of the Germanico, using surrounding plates prepared in advance, so as to obtain a constant thickness of what would then become the bronze surface.

On the bronze surface, the marks left by a scraper may still be seen: slightly farrowing the surface, it left bright and shiny traces. Such a tool, similar to a strigil, used by the caster to smoothen the rough surface of the bronze after the cast, is als

On the bronze surface, the marks left by a scraper may still be seen: slightly farrowing the surface, it left bright and shiny traces. Such a tool, similar to a strigil, used by the caster to smoothen the rough surface of the bronze after the cast, is als

After having cast the various parts of the sculpture separately, the caster then joins them together by soldering, smoothing the seam lines through the use of solder metals. On the Germanico, like in many other ancient statues of the human figure, it has

After having cast the various parts of the sculpture separately, the caster then joins them together by soldering, smoothing the seam lines through the use of solder metals. On the Germanico, like in many other ancient statues of the human figure, it has

The work is given a naturalistic touch with the aid of copper plating on the nipples; this suggests that the lips and perhaps also the eyes might have undergone a similar treatment.

The work is given a naturalistic touch with the aid of copper plating on the nipples; this suggests that the lips and perhaps also the eyes might have undergone a similar treatment.

Not all the construction stages of a great bronze sculpture may be deduced from observation of the finished work, most of all when it is not possible for the internal surfaces to be examined, where indelible chasings testify to various production stages, and as in the case of the Germanico, where the plaster of the reconstruction process occupies much of the interior space. However, it proved possible to pick out the signs of the metalworking: a lost-wax technique with the indirect method, calling for the use of foundry waxes and the welding together of the separate parts.
The methodology adopted for the restoration of the Germanico was based on the results obtained from the preliminary chemical and physical studies. The main aim of the intervention consisted in recouping the original bronze surface, which bore more signs left by the hand of the artist than damage caused by corrosion. A solid and compact surface layer, aesthetically pleasing, in fact facilitated and exalted the overall ease of appreciation of the refinedness of the work.
First of all, a number of polishing tests were carried out, with a view to exploring the stratigraphic sequence of the sediments and of the by-products of the corrosion process, identifying the level of polishing that  best highlighted and respected the original surface, that most full of informative and qualifying contents, most stable in terms of corrosion by-products and most aesthetically engaging.
Once the polishing process – carried out mechanically – was complete, and all (potentially damaging) foreign bodies deposited on the surface had been removed, the next stage was that of the inhibition of further corrosion which, because of the humidity present in the atmosphere, would settle on the bronze surface; the filling of small holes and gaps with plaster, and lastly the painting of the white surface of the gypsum, in order to differentiate it chromatically from the specific tonal qualities of the bronze and facilitate the interpretation of the work, thus distinguishing the repair work from the original.
The intervention was carefully documented, using both photography and videoendoscopic footage, chemical and physical analyses, in order to identify the composition of the metal alloy, of the deposits on the surface and of the patinas, and through the use of graphic mapping to determine both the original production technique and the 19th-century restoration process.