2. Statue of Ceres
2nd century AD
Boboli Gardens, Cypress Avenue, inv. Boboli no. 126
Marble of Luni
Height: 220 cm
Draped female statue, whose body is inspired to fourth century BC prototypes, with a Renaissance head and Peperino marble integrated arms. The face is enframed in hair descending along the sides of the neck and shoulders, encircled by a diadem. The right hand holds a flute, today partly lost; the statue can be considered to be a muse; however, in its original position, with stucco arms and a different head, it was thought to be Ceres.
The statue has been repeatedly painted in sketches and drawings between the 17th and 18th centuries by artists such as David, Velence, Percier and Parrocel, who depicted her while holding a bunch of ears or flowers in her raised right hand.
The statue comes from Palazzo Valle-Capranica, then it was brought in the Medicean collection at Villa Medici on the Pincio in Rome, and it is presently located in the Boboli Garden.
State of conservation
Both arms, part of the drapery, the right side of the plinth and the tips of the feet have been restored in the Renaissance. The inserted head is probably not originally pertinent to the sculpture.
The white marble statue is placed on a Pietra Serena stone base, with sponge decorations.
The surface seems to be rough and chromatically altered because of the ongoing biological overgrowth. The stone material looks disrupted in some areas, where it has a sugary texture, with consequent pulverization due to the position exposed to pelting rain and surrounded by taller vegetation. Four fingers of the left hand are missing and there is a metal pin visible, presumably used in a previous restoration for the insertion of extra fingers. There is a quite evident fracture on the face.
The base presents the typical deterioration of Pietra Serena. Remarkable cracks, detachment due to the strong washout of the clayey matrix, exfoliation with loss of the superficial layers in sheets. Obvious tensions can be seen at the top corners of the base, due to the underlying metal pins that tend to swell with humidity under the stone.
The mortar bed of the sponges also looks separated and pulverulent.
Montfaucon, I, 1, p. 84, tav. 43,5 da Lebrun; Dütschke 79; EA 100-102; 3427; Langlotz 1961, p. 98, fig. 25 (la testa); Gurrieri-Chatfield 1972, fig. 106; Faedo 1981, p. 146; Cecchi-Gasparri 2009, p. 224, n. 248.7
Drawings and engravings
E. Parrocel, Parigi, Album Louvre RF 3729 fol. 212 (Inventaire, p. 180, n. 729: “Villa Medici”); F. Caucig, Vienna, Akad. d. Bild. Künste, Inv. 644 (Müller-Kaspar 1991-1992, p. 116 e, fig. 8); J.-L. David, Album 4, fol. 6°, Washington, The National Gallery of Art, Inv. 1998. 105.1, a-cccc (Rosemberg, Prat 2002, p. 485, n. 607 e calco; “ala ville medicis”).
A. Cecchi-C. Gasparri, La Villa Médicis. Le collezioni del cardinale Ferdinando. I dipinti e le sculture, Vol. 4, Roma 2009
H. Dütschke, Antike Bildwerke in Oberitalien, II, Die antiken Marmorbildwerke in Florenz, Leipzig, 1875; III, Die antiken Marmorbildwerke der Uffizien in Florenz, Leipzig, 1878
L. Faedo, I sarcofagi romani con Muse, in ANRW, 12,2, Berlin- New York, 1981, pp. 65-155
F. Gurrieri-J. Chatfield, Boboli Gardens, Firenze 1972
E. Langlotz, Zur Deutung der “Penelope”, in «Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts», 76, 1961, pp. 72-99
B. De Montfaucon, L’antiquitée expliquée et representée en figures, Paris 1719ss.; Suppléments, Paris 1724ss.
Description of required work
Testing and sampling sessions for cleaning, consolidation, plastering and protection operations.
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.
Surface cleaning. Pre-consolidation sampling of surfaces. Removal of consistent, partially adhering deposits with solvents and/or mild surfactants, eliminating the suspended substances with 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 of stone elements.
Mechanical removal of old separated stucco work. Plastering and micro-plastering of cracks and micro-cracks.
Chromatic revision of any imbalances with lime and natural earth pigments.
Final surface protection to be assessed beforehand and provided when the restoration has been completed.