Home Interior Design Vatican restorers are working to bring a colossal Roman sculpture of Hercules back to its golden glory

Vatican restorers are working to bring a colossal Roman sculpture of Hercules back to its golden glory

by godlove4241
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A gilded bronze sculpture, Hercule Mastai Righetti, now housed in the Vatican Museums, is undergoing a $113,588 facelift to remove centuries of dirt from its gilded surface.

The work represents the young demigod Hercules leaning on his club, holding in his left hand the apples of the Hesperides (evening nymphs). The identity of the original sculptor remains unknown, but the work is believed to date from the second to third centuries BCE.

The statue was first discovered in 1864, under the courtyard of Palazzo Pio Righetti in Campo de’ Fiori in the area of ​​the ancient theater of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, according to Patrons of the Vatican Museums (PAVM), which finances the restoration. It was found during the construction of a banker’s villa, then given to Pope Pius IX, who placed it in the papal collection.

Scholars believe that lighting struck the statue in ancient times and it underwent a ritual burial based on Roman custom. The sculpture bears an inscription with the letters “FCS” which stands for “fulgur conditum summanium”, a Latin expression meaning: “Here is buried a Summanian thunderbolt”. The ancient Romans believed that objects struck by lightning held divinity because Summanus was the god of night thunder.

The restoration of the sculpture of Hercule Mastai, financed by the Patrons of the Vatican Museums (PAVM)will cost €100,000, or about $113,588.

Vatican Museum conservator Alice Baltera said in remarks to The Associated Press that the original gilding is “exceptionally well preserved”, probably because it was buried after the lightning strike.

But the current restoration has been described as “very complex” due to the structure and size of the sculpture. Measuring 13 feet tall, it is one of the largest ancient Roman bronzes to survive to the present day.

Restorers are currently working to undo some of the earlier restoration work done by neoclassical sculptor Pietro Tenerani sometime in the 19th century, according to the AP. These efforts include replacing the plaster added to the sculpture with fresh resin casts and removing a layer of wax that had been added to the surface.

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