1. Statue of Dionysus with Herm
Boboli Gardens, Cypress Avenue, inv. Boboli no. 125
Fine-grained microcrystalline marble, probably from the Luni area
Height with base: 204 cm; height of oldest part: 108 cm; height of head with neck: 36 cm; height of herm: 132 cm.
The statue depicts a young divinity with the left arm resting on a herm and the right arm extended along the body. The torso has a young thin musculature, the movement of the body is sinuous, the left leg slightly bent and the right leg flexed as to suggest a chiasmus, perhaps originally also repeated by the position of the arms. These, in fact, are additions from the Renaissance period, although they seem to repeat the original position. The head has been redone in the Renaissance, so that it is impossible to infer its original positioning. The Renaissance sculptor opted for this slight downward twisting of the head, towards the left.
The hair falls sparsely on the chest and shoulders in locks; although original, these elements do not allow us to make certain assumptions on the correct position of the head.
The head reinterprets the schemes of the Apollo Lyceus, mediated through eclectic patterns adopted in the Hadrian-Antonine period for the iconography of the Apollo Citharoedus.
The treatment of the beard of the herm, with wavy streaked hair locks, which are accurately detailed but without extensively deep relief, dates back to the Hadrianic age, precisely between 120 and 140 AD.
The statue was transferred from Villa Medici on the Pincio hill in Rome to Florence in 1788 and placed in the Boboli Garden in the last years of the 18th century.
State of conservation
Restored parts: head with neck, left and right arms, legs from the knee to the ankle. Herm recomposed with four ancient relevant fragments. Supplements added in modern times: fingers of the hands, fig leaf, and Herm nose. Cracks on the thighs and on the left humerus.
The sculpture shows biological overgrowth, which has significantly altered its appearance.
The statue has dark stains of biological origin, especially visible where there has been a particularly marked wash-out.
The deterioration described has been caused by exposure in the open air filled with polluting agents; the water and humidity of the environment have caused a continuous settlement and transformation of these elements on the stone.
Evident cracks of various origins are visible on the front part of the legs and on the herm. A phalanx of the left hand is missing and the thumb of the same hand is probably about to fall.
The base in Pietra Serena stone and decorations with sponges has been strongly attacked by biological agents, but no evident cracks or exfoliation is visible.
Dütschke 1875, n. 78; EA, n. 3426; Gurrieri-Chatfield 1972, p. 117, n. 46, fig. 105; Caneva 1982, p. 43, n. 46; Schröter 1990, p. 61, n. 60; Paolucci in Palazzo Pitti 2003, p. 497, n. 19; Cecchi-Gasparri 2009, p. 146, n.153.2.
C. Caneva, Il Giardino di Boboli, Firenze 1982
A. Cecchi-C. Gasparri, La Villa Médicis. Le collezioni del cardinale Ferdinando. Dipinti e sculture, vol. IV, Roma 2009
H. Dütschke, Antike Bildwelke in Oberitalien; II, Die antiken Marmorbildwerke in Florenz, Leipzig 1875
F. Gurrieri-J. Chatfield, Boboli Gardens, Firenze 1972
Palazzo Pitti. La reggia Rivelata, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, 2003-2004), Firenze 2003
E. Schröter, Antiken der Villa Medici in der Betrachtung von Winckelmann, Anton Raphael Mengs und Johannes Wiedewelt, in Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Neue Forschungen. Schriften der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft Stendahl, Stendal 1990, pp. 47 ss.
Description of required work
Mapping of works and existing integrations.
Testing and sampling sessions for cleaning, consolidation, plastering and protection operations.
Preliminary cleaning with brushes, soft brushes and aspirators.
Biocide treatment. Disinfesting treatment to remove autotrophic biodeteriogenic organisms (mosses, algae patinas and films, lichen growth), to eliminate the attacks visible on the surfaces or at deeper levels, and prevent their re-development, after reducing the thickness of the deposits with a fixed blade scalpel or brushes.
Surface cleaning with localized compresses supplemented with solvents and/or mild surfactants, deionized water, sponges and scalpels.
Treatment of oxidized metal parts.
Deep consolidation. Re-adhesion of small parts already detached or about to detach.
Supplementation of missing parts by repositioning retrieved fragments or by remaking the missing parts from scratch with a marble as similar as possible to the original.
Static control. Where necessary, structural consolidation.
Mechanical removal of old separated stucco work. Plastering and micro-plastering of cracks and micro-cracks, stucco filling and resting of raised flakes.
Chromatic revision of any imbalances with lime and natural earth pigments.
Final surface protection of all the surfaces.