Project Description

Restoration of the sculpture of Minerva and Saturnus, Giusto Le Court
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Project
Restoration of the sculpture of Minerva and Saturnus

Location
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Project Director
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Contractor
Fanni Agàrdi, Budapest

Funding
Venetian Heritage
François Droulers

Start date
December 2023

Cost
4.530,00 €

The marble statues depicting Minerva and Saturn were cataloged in the Art Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest after 1800 as unknown works dating back to the 19th century. However, recently, through the study and research of art historian Maichol Clemente, it was possible to attribute these works to the Flemish sculptor Giusto Le Court, a champion of Venetian Baroque sculpture, and identify their ancient origin from one of the most important art collections of the 17th century in Europe. Originally, these two sculptures were part of one of the most significant collections of the 17th century, owned by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (1614-1662), who served as the governor of the Spanish Netherlands on behalf of Emperor Ferdinand III from 1647 to 1656. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm assembled an extremely rich collection that still forms the core of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s heritage in Vienna to this day. Over time, similar to other works from the imperial collections, Giusto Le Court’s statues of Minerva and Saturn were dispersed, and in 1817, they arrived in Budapest anonymously, donated by Archduke Joseph of Austria, Palatine of Hungary, to the Collection of Antiquities of the Hungarian National Museum. In 1906, they were transferred to the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
This rediscovery, thanks to Maichol Clemente’s research, along with findings about Barthel di Simone Guerriero, exemplifies the richness of Venetian art in the collections of major international museums – a historical and artistic heritage that needs to be preserved, promoted, and celebrated. For this reason, Venetian Heritage has decided to support the restoration of these two sculptures, marking the beginning of its first collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.