Chiapella DeKatt Memorial, 1880

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

  • The Chiapella DeKatt tomb by Domenico Carli, 1880

    The Chiapella DeKatt tomb by Domenico Carli, 1880

    This sculpture stands across from the Caterina Campodonico monument and we are sponsoring restoration of both of these, with work scheduled to begin in October, 2016.
  • The Chiapella DeKatt memorial, Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.

    The Chiapella DeKatt memorial, Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.

    This sculpture, by Domenico Carli, represents Virtue.
  • Chiapella DeKatt memorial: the statue of Virtue

    Chiapella DeKatt memorial: the statue of Virtue

    The young woman, representing Virtue, holds a mirror, which symbolizes self-awareness.
  • Initial laser cleaning

    Initial laser cleaning

    The laser is adjusted to a wavelength that loosens the dirt and black crust, and kills the microbacteria that attacks marble. The laser has no effect on the marble itself, so it is a very delicate and controlled technique.
  • Initial laser cleaning

    Initial laser cleaning

    The laser slowly cleans small areas at a time.
  • Initial cleaning test

    Initial cleaning test

    A moist dilute solvent loosened the black crust, and then the laser removed it in a preliminary cleaning test on the foot of this marble statue.
  • Restoration is more than half way complete

    Restoration is more than half way complete

    Our restoration of the Chiapella DeKatt sculpture is coming along beautifully. This 1880 sculpture by Domenico Carli was covered with a dense layer of dirt and black crust, which was retaining moisture and attacking the surface of the marble. She is being cleaned with a combination of laser cleaning and application of a gel with mild solvents. This penetrate the pores of the marble, and, when removed after 20 minutes, lifts off the dirt. These are very delicate methods with no adverse effect on the marble.
  • Chiapella DeKatt Restored

    Chiapella DeKatt Restored

    The restoration is complete. We will establish a maintenance program, following up on each sculpture twice a year.

Domenico Carli (1828-1912) blended the realism of late 19th century Italian sculpture with traditional classicism. Carli worked for many years as a student of and assistant to the great Genovese sculptor Santo Varni. Once he established his own studio, he produced numerous works at Staglieno and for churches in Genoa, along with two colossal sculptures for the cathedral in Panama, and works that went to Guatemala, Uruguay and Russia.

The Chiapella De Katt memorial is a traditional representation of moral virtue. The young woman holds a mirror and a snake, symbols of moral virtue. The mirror represents self-awareness. The snake is a reference to Matthew 10:16, “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”.

This sculpture was covered with an uneven dense layer of dirt and black crust, and is in a location of the galleries particularly subject to humidity and winter frost. Black crust is a phenomenon of the deterioration of marble, where the surface of the marble combines with dust and pollution, and breaks down forming a hard crumbly skin on the sculpture. Removal of this dirt and thin crust is essential to protect the sound marble underneath, and to stop further erosion.

Restoration began with dusting of the entire sculpture, and consolidation of the most delicate or weakened areas. This was be followed by deeper cleaning through use of cellulose poultices applied to the surface which draw out the dirt, a gel cleaner with mild solvents that is removed after 20 minutes, and laser cleaning.  Afterwards the surface was consolidated with a very thin application of a paste of lime or marble dust or with calcium or ethyl silicate. This protects the surface, bonding it together to preclude further weakening. This may be followed up with application of dilute microcrystalline wax. All work will be supervised by the art historians and restoration specialists of the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio, the agency that protects all of Italys artistic treasures. We will carefully document every phase of the work.

 

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