Statue of Mars – Conservation Project

HISTORICAL NOTES

Before Restoration

The exact origin of this sculpture is unfortunately unknown, but has been a part of quite a number of private collections. At the end of the 700s, antique dealer and painter Gavin Hamilton laid claim to the piece, after which it was part of the Marconi collection from Frascati, and in the 19thcentury became part of the pontifical collections for installation within the Lateran Museum.

Finally, in 1963 it was transferred to the Vatican along with other findings, and some years later was exhibited in the new Gregorian Profane museum.

The body is that of a young man in heroic nudity, dressed only with a cape fastened by a clasp on the right shoulder, partially covering his back. The statuary type of this artifact is notable by comparison with other replicas of the imperial age, inspired by Greek sculpture models of the 5th century BC. However, this one appears to have been adapted in the course of the 2nd century AD.  For honorary statues this was often the case—especially portraits of emperors such as Antonino Pio, Marco Aurelio, and Lucio Vero. In this case, the military character of the iconographic typology is revealed by the armor shaped like a tree trunk, which lies on the support next to the right leg.

Moreover, the head, which also was modified during modern restoration interventions, can be compared to other replicas of the imperial ages. The origin is hypothetically from a bronze statue that depicts the Greek god of war, Ares, and created in Attica between 430 and 420 BC.

CONSERVATION PROCESS

After Restoration

CLEANING:

  • Chemical cleaning, removal of coherent surface particle deposits using a stone pack of sepiolite (a magnesium mineral), pulp paper and water, interposed by a sheet of Japanese paper treated with a 10% ammonium bicarbonate solution;
  • On the uneven upper vertical surface areas, buffer cleaning was done with the help of Japanese paper, hot water and a 10% ammonium bicarbonate solution;
  • Traces of brown-reddish paint were eliminated using swabs and acetone;
  • Extraction of removeable salt deposits left on the painted surface; this was done using Japanese paper and water;

REMOVALS:

  • The plaster fig leaf was removed with the aid of water and a chisel; the large plaster grout located at the rear of the stone base was also removed;
  • Pin removal: the oxidized metal pin holding the sword was replaced with one in stainless steel. Bonding was carried out with EPO 121 epoxy inserted in the pivotal area at the base of the handle (only at the top). This area was then liberally filled with Plasticrete mixed with marble powder. The sword was secured by creating light gluing points with EPO 121 on the support of the handle adjacent to the sword;

GROUTING:

  • Gaps were filled with stucco composed of lime putty and marble powder and chromatically matched to the color of the marble surface.

 

Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo: once again witness to art’s mission of dialogue

24 October 2018

Two years on from 21 October 2016, when the notes of the Chinese Guangzhou Opera House Orchestra resounded for the first time, the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo will once more become, on Wednesday 24 October, the symbolic and special backdrop for another significant musical event which, in the name of art and the unifying power of Beauty, forms part of the process of opening and dialogue already undertaken by the Vatican Museums with various Chinese cultural entities.

This time it will be a concert of operatic works, entitled “Mater: la Bellezza ci unisce” (Mater: Beauty unites us) evoking the imaginary embrace between distant peoples, and the vibrant voices of the tenor Cristian Ricci and the Chinese soprano Ma Fei will lift up hearts to promote trustful mutual listening.

The initiative is the result of collaboration between the Governorate of Vatican City State and the Culture&brand Research Group of the organization Chinese Attendees of Academic Exchange on Religion and Culture.

The Restoration of the Mastiff Dog

The sculpture of the Cane Molosso statue (Mastiff Dog) is located in the Octagonal Courtyard and it is a very famous work dating back to the first century A.D. In 2016, a curious visitor broke this sculpture, inserting his hand inside the mouth, causing very serious damage to the jaw. The detached jaw piece then fractured in the fall.

The sculpture, acquired by the Vatican Collections in 1770 and integrated by Gaspare Sibila in 1779, was subject to a complete restoration beginning with a double phase cleaning with chemicals and laser.  Through these techniques, the restorer, Anna Lea Mattozzi, freed the stone surface from layers of powders (mixed with altered protective materials) and anthropogenic deposits.

    Subsequently, the innovative systems proposed by Ulderico Santamaria (responsible for the Scientific Research Laboratory) were used to consolidate the fragments. Afterwards, the fragments were reconstructed, and the jaw was reattached to the work.In the course of the restoration, restorers also found some coins inside the mouth that allowed them to understand the meddling visitor’s actions. Currently Giandomenico Spinola and Claudia Valeri are analyzing a protection system for this sculpture in order to prevent other curious visitors from causing further damage. The Mastiff Dog will return to the courtyard shortly as soon as its protection is secured.

 

Homage of the Vatican Museums to Paul VI on the occasion of his canonization

12 October – 5 November 2018
Collection of Contemporary Art, Vatican Museums

To pay homage to Pope Montini in the month of his canonization, which occurs officially on 14 October, the Vatican Museums will hold a symbolic exhibition event in the spaces that house the art collection – now known as the Collection of Contemporary Art – which was conceived by Paul VI himself and which he strongly desired and supported during the years of his papacy.

Paolo VI il giorno dell’inaugurazione della Collezione con Kengiro Azuma e la famiglia Foto © Servizio Fotografico L’Osservatore Romano

The Artist is Prophet and Poet” is the title chosen for this intimate but dutiful photographic tribute by the Pope’s Museums, and it is a citation from the speech given by the Brescia-born Pontiff on 1973 to mark the inauguration of the new Collection. His words on that occasion had already been significantly preceded, ten years earlier, in his homily for the “Mass of Artists”, in which Paul VI clearly expressed his intention to cancel the distance that had been created between the Church and artists, and thus to recompose a bond that had been interrupted for too long.

From 12 October to 5 November, in an extraordinary form along the itinerary of the Collection of Contemporary Art, the visitor to the Vatican Museums will therefore find a small but significant selection of original photographs bearing witness to some fundamental phases in the history of the collection, expressing heartfelt acknowledgement of the modernity and farsightedness of its founder.

THE “ARTIST IS PROPHET AND POET” – PRESENTATION 

“ADDRESS OF PAUL VI ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS COLLECTION OF THE MODERN RELIGIOUS ART” 

 

 

Conference “Preventive conservation in major museums. Comparing strategies”

12 October 2018
New Wing, Vatican Museums

The directors of the most important museums in the world will meet on Friday 12 October at the conference sponsored and organised by the Vatican Museums on the theme of preventive conservation in large museum contextsThe Vatican Museums are pleased to host the directors of the great universal museums, visited by millions of people every year. Their daily challenge: to find new ways for the management and material conservation of such an important and strongly displayed heritage. I hope that this conference, by promoting a real and direct exchange, will contribute to the development of common strategies that may be a concrete help for all museums. These are the words with which Barbara Jatta, Director of the Pope’s Museums, announces and presents the significant moment of exchange and reflection on what is presented as one of the most urgent questions of the third millennium: the management of mass tourism and planned heritage conservation.

The participants in the meeting will describe the working strategies or specific cases faced in their role, and analogies and differences, critical issues and opportunities will emerge from the exchange between various demands and situations: a synthesis of points of observation and concrete activities, useful for defining what may be the future guidelines for museum institutions.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

PROGRAMME

Useful info

Attendance by invitation.
Registration closed on 17 September 2018.

 

The Vatican Museums in Frankfurt for the 70th Book Fair

10 – 14 October 2018

The presence of the Vatican Museums also for the 2018 edition of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the prestigious international book fair in Frankfurt from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 October, is confirmed again this year. With Georgia as the guest of honour, the event, greatly anticipated both by professionals in the sector and keen readers, will involve the participation of over 7000 exhibitors from 100 different countries.

Edizioni Musei Vaticani and Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) – as is by now customary – will represent Vatican publishing in a joint exhibition stand where, aside from the presence of new publications, there will also be fruitful and stimulating exchanges with publishers and visitors.
CATALOGUE OF PUBLICATIONS – EDIZIONE MUSEI VATICANI 2018

2018 CHAPTER LEADERS MEETING

This past weekend, the Leaders from all twenty-six Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums chapters convened in Rome for the 35th Anniversary of the Patrons Organization.  The meeting began on Thursday and concluded on Sunday evening.

After many weeks and months of preparations, the Patrons staff welcomed the Leaders to Villa Grazioli in Castel Gandolfo on Thursday.  On Friday morning, the Leaders and staff traveled by bus to Vatican City for a full day of activities.

The morning began with a tour of Redemptoris Mater, the Pope’s private chapel in the Apostolic Palace.  Next, the Patrons had a private Audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis.

Francis spoke for about five minutes on the importance of preserving and promoting art as a means of living out our faith.

Every member in attendance was able to greet and shake hands with the Holy Father, so it was a true blessing to meet him. After a delicious lunch at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens, Dr. Barbara Jatta spoke on behalf of the restoration labs.  She shared her vision and expectations for the Patrons by stating some of the needs of the Wishbook.

Saturday was held entirely at the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo.  The morning sessions, led by Fr. Kevin Lixey and members of the staff, overviewed the mission and identity of the Patrons. They discussed a new Patrons logo, new website templates, and an overall goal of greater consistency between the Rome office and the chapters.

The highlight of the afternoon session was a presentation of Salesforce, a new database system used for communication and event planning.  After the sessions, there was a lovely dinner at Villa Grazioli. The Leaders showed their gratitude toward Fr. Kevin, the staff and each other for the collective efforts of the Patrons.

The six informative sessions and conferences gave an insider look on the work, the concerns, and the future plans of the Patrons. The 2018 Chapter Leaders Meeting was a very valuable experience, and it helped us all understand the goals that must be perceived  in  the next months.

Welcome Sara

My name is Sara Cacciatore and I was born on the 27th of November, 1993 in Rome.

I always wanted to communicate with everyone, with foreigners above all. I’ve always loved to understand different cultures and different ways of life, so I decided to study languages in high school. For five years I learned English, Spanish and French literature and translation.

After the high school my desider to improve my pronunciation and accent led me to the University at la Sapienza, where I continued the languages study. I had the chance to go out for a few months and I decided to go to Salamanca and Barcelona; there I found my passion and what is now my job: the communication for marketing and promotion in an informatic field.

At the age of 24, I decided to get a communication and international relations master at SIOI ( in English, the Italian Society International Organization) where I learned the specific marketing and promotion skills. Thnaks to that field I had the chance to practice new skills inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Farnesina where I had a 4 month internship in the role of event organizer and communcator. This gave me a new dimension of experience and I learned a lot.

After my internship I decided to start a “freelance period” as a translator and communicator for my own clients and for the new ones. This helped me to understand the real job in order to know new people and new possible clients. By this time, I had the luck to get an internship position in the Patrons of the Arts inside the Vatican Museums, where they support the conservations of the giant collection of artworks in there.  I’ve started on 13th September and my skills have been immediately tested: I went to the tapestry restoration laboratories with the tapestry restorer Dr. Chiara Pavan and Alessandra Rodolfo, the curator of the art department of XVII and XVIII. I learned every process needed for the restoration and the conservation of the tapestries while explaining these processes to the patrons.

I went to the first laboratory, the older one, inside the Vatican City where the ancient tapestries were created, and we walked along different rooms where they scrutinize and dyed threads and support for the restoration.

I hope always to test my skills and my patience in my job position.

Welcome Henry

Hello!

My name is Henry Hawley, and I am excited to spend my time in Rome as intern with the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

I am originally from Los Angeles, California, and I am a junior at Boston College studying Philosophy and Art History.  This semester, however, I am studying abroad at the American University of Rome. Studying abroad has provided many exciting challenges and countless opportunities to travel, grow, and experience a new culture.

My family has been involved in the Patrons for a long time.  My grandfather, Philip M. Hawley, contributed to the founding of the California Chapter, and he spent time as the Chapter’s Leader.  I must also thank Greg Stanislawski, the current Leader of the California Chapter, for his reference and assistance during my application process.

While interning with the Patrons, I will help the organization with various activities.  I will be collecting data and research from curators, docents, and restoration experts on behalf of the organization.  I will work with the donor relations manager, and I will assist the communications team in handling the Patrons’ social media platforms. One big highlight of my time with the Patrons is that I will assist with the Chapter Leader’s Meeting at Castel Gandolfo, learning about the relations between the chapters and headquarters, the necessities of each individual chapter, and the future plans and strategies of the Patrons.  I am really eager to extend a hand and help with anything during my time in Rome.

I cannot wait for the next three months with the Patrons.  I am excited to learn about the management of a nonprofit and to surround myself with art everyday.  I am beyond blessed to come to the Vatican Museums and work in such a special place filled with faith, history, and beauty.