Campodonico Memorial, 1881

Restoration of this sculpture took 12 weeks, and was completed December 30, 2016.

  • Caterina Campodonico, a favorite of the Genovese citizens

    Caterina Campodonico, a favorite of the Genovese citizens

    Much beloved, Caterina Capodonico stands as a symbol of the strong, independent spirit and pride of Genoa.
  • Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico

    Of all the sculptures at Staglieno, Caterina Campodonico is probably the one dearest to the hearts of the people of Genoa.
  • Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico

    Half of Caterina Campodonico’s right earring fell off around 2015. Fortunately, at the beginning of restoration work in October 2016 the broken piece was found in a fold in her drapery, and it will be carefully reattached.
  • Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico chose the sculptor Lorenzo Orengo for his ability to depict her exactly as she was, with the nuts and cakes she sold at street fairs.
  • Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico

    Note the fine detail of Caterina’s dress. She wanted to show her timeless dignity and pride.
  • Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico

    Caterina Campodonico, the hazelnut vendor, commissioned this work during her lifetime, to ensure we would remember and honor her.
  • Initial restoration work

    Initial restoration work

    The Caterina Campodonico sculpture had an old coating of wax. This traps the dirt, so the first step in restoration is to remove that wax and the entrapped dirt. Here art restorer Elena Franceschini is using cotton swabs and solvent to carefully strip the wax.
  • Applying a poultice with Japanese paper.

    Applying a poultice with Japanese paper.

    A poultice was applied using Japanese paper and a dilute solution of Triammonium Citrate. This is left on for a few minutes to loosen the black crust, which is then removed with laser cleaning.
  • The restored statue of Caterina Campodonico

    The restored statue of Caterina Campodonico

    The restoration has brought back her original beauty, so we can now see her the way the sculptor, Lorenzo Orengo, intended.

One of the best known and beloved sculptures at Staglieno is the 1881 monument to Caterina Campodonico, “The Hazelnut Seller”. A poor single woman, a street vendor, she worked selling nuts and sweets at fairs and festivals, and saved all her life to commission one of the most important artists of the time, Lorenzo Orengo, to sculpt her memorial.

This sculpture is a demonstration of the democratization of Italian society in the late 1800’s. While it remained a very structured and hierarchical society, for one of the first times in history even the poorest could stand up with dignity and look the rich and powerful in the eye, taking pride in what they made of themselves regardless of the circumstances of their birth.

This sculpture is a favorite of the people of the city of Genoa. She is a treasure, and one of the masterpieces of a brief, little known period of art history known as “bourgeois realism”.

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