Sunday, October 27, 2019

Adam & Eve + Mars Get Complete Makeovers and New Lodgings Thanks to Peter Marino & Venetian Heritage

Adam & Eve + Mars by Antonio Rizzo, restored by Venetian Heritage - Photo: Cat Bauer
Adam, Mars & Eve by Antonio Rizzo - Photo: Cat Bauer
(Venice, Italy) Adam & Eve and Mars were in very bad shape. The three icons, crucial to the story of humanity, were showing their age. The marble masterpieces were created by the Veronese sculptor, Antonio Rizzo, around 1470-1490, more than 500 years ago. For centuries, they adorned the Foscari Arch in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace opposite the Giants' Staircase, the official entrance to the palace, also designed by Rizzo.

As the years ticked by, the white marble turned to black due to atmospheric pollution. Fingers and toes cracked. Adam broke an arm. At the beginning of the 20th century, Eve was brought inside and replaced by a bronze copy. After World War II, between 1953 and 1955, Adam and Mars were also replaced. The originals were better off inside, but they still were black and broken.

Enter art restorer Toto Bergamo Rossi, the Director of  Venetian Heritage, a non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the cultural legacy of the Venetian Republic. Bringing the marble trio back to their former glory became one of his missions. He spoke to the American architect, Peter Marino, the new Chairman of Venetian Heritage and said they would need about €225,000. Peter was convinced that the restorations were vital after Toto told him that Adam & Eve were the first nude free-standing public statues in the Republic of Venice.

Venice, Italy - Jonathan Hoyte & Peter Marino - Photo: Cat Bauer
Jonathan Hoyte & Peter Marino - Photo: Cat Bauer
The restoration team was headed by Jonathan Hoyte, an American restorer. When I first saw Jonathan at the presentation on Friday, October 25, I recognized him immediately -- he had been part of the first Cleaning Day in Venice in 2012 when a group of volunteers organized by Masegni & Nizioleti removed graffiti from a building off Strada Nuova. I told him I didn't realize back then that he was a professional!

Jonathan said that the statues were black because of pollutants and previous restoration treatments -- there were even remnants of wax from when the plaster molds to create the replicas were made -- and that they had tried several methods to remove the grime. They finally settled on a laser treatment, the type they use to remove tattoos. It is astonishing how the laser removed the black layers, restoring the precious Carrara marble to a beautiful sheen.

Cleaning Eve - Photo courtesy Venetian Heritage
The statues looked so impressive standing there in the Sala dello Scrutinio, the great hall where elections were held during the Venetian Republic, that Gabriella Bella, the Director of Venice's Civic Museums, said that there is where they will stay.

Venice, Italy - Sala dello Scrutinio, Palazzo Ducale Photo: Cat Bauer
Sala dello Scrutinio, Palazzo Ducale, Venice - Photo: Cat Bauer
So not only did Adam, Eve and Mars get complete makeovers, they got grand new lodgings as well -- another reason to visit the Doge's Palace. Thank you Venetian Heritage for bringing the statues back to life. Go to Palazzo Ducale for more information.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Adam & Eve and Mars were in very bad shape. The three marble masterpieces were created by the Veronese sculptor, Antonio Rizzo, around 1470-1490, more than 500 years ago. For centuries, they adorned the Foscari Arch in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace opposite the Giants' Staircase, the official entrance to the palace, also designed by Rizzo.

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