Early II Century A.D.
Statue of Attis
Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi,
inv. 1914 no. 84
The sculpture, that must certainly have been a cult statue given its colossal size, represents Attis, the young servant of the Goddess Cybele.
The statue, whose neat and academic treatment of the drapery make it datable to the Hadrian period, is an interesting example of a later integration by modern sculptors of a Classical fragment. It was in fact only at the beginning of the XVIII century that sculptor Francesco Franchi set about integrating the ancient parts (torso and part of the legs) creating the image of an Oriental barbarian.
After decades of neglect, the restoration and thorough cleaning of the surfaces carried ou with great experience and precision not only restored the artwork to its full esthetic legibility, but have also provided important clues for a better understanding of the restoration extent and the methods adopted for the integration of the modern parts. Using solutions of ammonium carbonate to remove the old stucco repairs, often rather crude and very much degraded, it has been possible to precisely retrace the fracture lines and define a precise mapping of the sculpture, defining the modern parts and the ancient portions.
A chromatic attenuation of the surfaces has then been accomplished with demineralized water-and turpentine soaked compresses, the latter to remove old wax deposits. The old stucco repairs have been removed mechanically (scalpels with interchangeable blades) and with ultrasonic instrument, and replaced with new sub-layer integrations of marble dust. All in all, restoration operations, systematically documented the photographic campaign, not only have restored the sculpture to its original beauty – facilitating the legibility of the smooth surfaces and the delicately chiseled draperies – but have also supplied important clues for future scientific investigation and studies of this monumental sculpture of the Middle-Imperial period.