Restoration of the sculptures and fountains of the Boboli Gardens
List of sculptures in need of restoration:
1. Ancient Roman, Dionysus Statue with Herm
2. Ancient Roman, Statue of Ceres
3. Ancient Roman, Statue of Septimius Severus
4. Ancient Roman, Statues of Mercury and Bacchus
5. F. Camilliani, Statue of Picus, King of Ausonia
6. R. Ferrucci-Orazio Mochi, Saccomazzone Players
7. G.B. Capezzuoli, The Game of Pentolaccia
8. R. Ferrucci, Statues of Grotesque Figures or “Caramogi”
9. R. Ferrucci (attr.), Mostaccini Fountain
10. Fountain of the Dwarf Morgante on a Turtle
The proposed project focuses on the sculptures situated along the Viottolone dei cipressi (literally, “Cypress Avenue”), where a landscaping plan, funded by the Uffizi Galleries and consisting in the requalification of the greenery, maintenance of sculptures and restoration of the bases, is already at an advanced stage. The restoration of the sculptures and fountains will be the final stage of the requalification of the entire area, which is one of the most important avenues of the Boboli Gardens, and will have an important echo in the public opinion, for the museum and for the donors themselves – far greater than those resulting from individual operations and initiatives scattered in contexts that have not yet been requalified.
Designed by architect Giulio Parigi as an important element of his plans for the expansion of the Boboli Gardens, which started in 1612, the Cypress Avenue is a great perspective axis that culminates with the Island Fountain. In the eighteenth century, at the initiative of Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Habsburg-Lorraine, numerous ancient and modern sculptures were aligned along the edges of the avenue according to an overall design that aimed at rationalizing and enriching the layout created under the Medici’s rule. This area of the garden is still today one of the most spectacular of the entire complex.
In identifying other interventions, the designers chose to prioritise the main avenues of the park and the areas where works had already been partially performed, such as the statues representing the Caramogi (small, bizarre men with large heads), located in front of a recently restored sculptural group, as well as very popular attractions such as the Fountain of Bacchus and the Mostaccini Fountain, which are rather deteriorated.
In general, the positioning of the works in the open air along the Cypress Avenue subjects these works to the elements and to extreme humidity changes. The presence of a thick vegetation and a system for the collection of rainwater below the base of each sculpture makes them even more vulnerable. In particular, cypress trees with heights of up to 4-5 meters rise behind the sculptures, causing the seasonal fall of leaves and of small branches onto the stony surfaces. In addition, widespread biological overgrowth by mosses, algae, lichens and fungi alters the sculptures’ colour, up to the point of making it difficult to visually distinguish their materials.
The project we are proposing here consists in planning targeted actions and maintenance to prevent (or at least minimize) deterioration. In fact, if we look at the Viottolone as an ensemble of biological, architectural and sculptural elements, which may be returned to its full beauty only through a multidisciplinary, all-encompassing project. Hence, the conservation and restoration process will make use of a host of different methodologies for all the sculptures.