The restoration of Perseus
direct on Internet
by Gato Medici
It was 5th December 1996 when Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus was removed from Piazza della Signoria and taken to the restoration laboratories.
The statue, made from a single casting of 1,800 kilos of bronze, was unveiled to the public in 1554 and positioned beneath the Loggia dei Lanzi as a symbol of Medici power.
After over four centuries in this Florentine medieval square, the statue, in a terrible state of repair, is now being restored. The gilding and the silver decorations have all disappeared and today the state of the statue is alarming. In fact, the sudden swings in temperature, dampness which turns acid through pollution and time itself have all damaged the sculpture and are responsible for the encrustations and stains.
Two large, separate rooms in the Uffizi house the laboratories. Here, the statue in all its beauty and its marble base, also an example of refined workmanship which has for centuries accompanied and elevated Perseus, rise up before the restorers.
The restoration of Perseus,
Since 12th May it is possible to virtually enter these laboratories where the restoration work is carried out. Through Internet, the "spectator" can see directly all the phases which are updated every two minutes. This is made possible by three cameras which film all the restoration interventions which are then put on line. But besides the phases of the restoration, the virtual visitor can learn of the background of the sculpture and all about its historical period.
The site, created by Datanord Multimedia in Milan, was favoured by Florence's Cassa di Risparmio bank which has financed the work while Telecom Italia Net provided space in its servers. To gain access type in http://www.perseo.org
It is also possible to visit the actual laboratories in Florence free of charge. Visitors, in groups of 15, can observe the work from an inner viewing gallery and there is also a special entrance for disabled visitors.
"Il Restauro del Perseo: Tecnologie per l'Umanesimo"- Uffizi Gallery (Uffizi Gallery, no.6, west wing, ground floor) Florence.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
For information tel. +39 55 2612758