Project Description

Five Chalk Statues, 18th-19th centuries
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Project
Restoration of five chalk statues, 18th-19th centuries

Location
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Project director
dott.ssa Roberta Battaglia

Contractor
COREST Consorzio Restauratori, Venice

Funding
Venetian Heritage

Start date
April 2017

End date
September 2017

Cost
20.000,00 €

On the occasion of the exhibition “Canova, Hayez, Cicognara. The Last Glory of Venice” (Gallerie dell’Accademia, September 29, 2017 – April 2, 2018), Venetian Heritage funded the restoration of some plaster casts from the Farsetti Collection and the deposits of the Gallerie dell’Accademia.
In the second half of the 18th century and in the early decades of the following century, collections were formed in Venice that gathered copies of famous classical statues, representative of what, at the time of their execution, was considered the utmost excellence in the field of art. These copies, whose originals were often difficult to access, were made available to young people who were approaching the learning of artistic techniques and principles of drawing.
Nobleman Filippo Farsetti dedicated himself to this pedagogical mission, and his collection included more than a hundred and fifty casts taken from the finest statues in Rome and Florence. The Farsetti Gallery was opened to the public in 1755, and after various events, the plaster casts were purchased by the Austrian government, which destined them to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1805.
Three specimens from the Farsetti Collection were restored on the occasion of the exhibition that celebrated the bicentenary of the opening of the Gallerie dell’Accademia museum.
The Dying Gladiator, whose original is at the Musei Capitolini, represents a Galatian (a warrior belonging to a Gallic tribe in Asia Minor) defeated and determined to take his own life.
The Seated Mars Ludovisi reflects a Greek prototype from the late 4th century BC, attributed to the school of Scopas or that of Lysippus.
The Old Centaur is a copy of a Roman work derived from a creation from the Hellenistic period, which was in Villa Borghese in the 18th century and is now preserved at the Louvre. Originally, the cast carried the figure of a Cupid on its back, now partially lost.
Also restored for the occasion and exhibited in the show was the plaster cast of one of the Horses of Saint Mark. The bronze quadriga, taken by the French in 1797 and returned in 1815, upon its return, sparked a lively discussion about its origin. Leopoldo Cicognara, the president of the Accademia since 1808, also addressed the topic and in 1815 published the pamphlet “Dei quattro cavalli riposti sul pronao della Basilica di S. Marco.” As a document of this study, he had the cast displayed in the exhibition to provide a new model for students and to contribute to the historical and artistic investigation through a faithful reproduction of the original that was more easily consultable than the original.