Debarbieri Memorial, 1918

Work began March 13, 2017 and was completed in August, 2017 on Luigi Brizzolara’s dynamic Art Nouveau masterpiece.

  • Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    Restoration took five months, and the delicate cleaning involved many steps. The accumulated dirt was as thick as 3 to 4 mm (over 1/8″) in places, and was also absorbed into the surface of the marble.
  • Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    In may places this formed a “black crust”, a hard skin of dirt merging chemically with the marble. That needed to be carefully removed or it would cause the stone surface to flake off.
  • Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    Debarbieri Memorial sculpted by Luigi Brizzolara

    Biological growth (mildew and mold) was also attacking the stone. Scientific analysis determined the composition of pollutants, stains, and mold, to find the most appropriate cleaning techniques for each area of the sculpture.
  • The Debarbieri memorial

    The Debarbieri memorial

    The morning sun strikes the Debarbieri memorial, revealing the dramatic energy of this sculpture.
  • Preparing for the restoration

    Preparing for the restoration

    March 17, 2017- scaffolding goes up so that the restorers can begin work. Award winning filmmaker Jeroen Pool has come to Genoa from Stockholm to begin work on a documentary that will include our restoration work.
  • sculpture restoration

    Work in progress

    Art restorer Francesca Saitta working on the Pozzo-Debarbieri memorial.
  • The restored sculpture

    The restored sculpture

    Flanking this sculpture are the smaller Bodoano and Maina crypt sculptures. In this photo work was nearing completion on those two restorations.
  • The restored sculpture

    The restored sculpture

    We can once again see this monumental sculpture as the artist originally intended.

Luigi Brizzolara’s Debarbieri Pozzo memorial from 1918 is a dramatic Art Nouveau work, influenced by the sculpture of Rodin and Bistolfi.

The woman’s gown swirls around her as if in the midst of a cyclone, and rises up to mix with smoke as it surrounds the bust of the deceased Alfredo. Heavy layers of dirt encrusted the work, obscuring it, so it was very hard not just to discern the details but even to appreciate the overall composition. With restoration this piece came alive, and the artists full dramatic intent is again revealed.

Brizzolara is known for his blend of realism and organic naturalism in dramatic, flowing sculptures. His earlier works tended more towards realism, and later in his career he moved into the Liberty (Italian Art Nouveau) and Symbolist styles.

Flanking this monumental work are two smaller gems, the 1891 Maina memorial sculpted by Lorenzo Orengo and Giovanni Battista Villa’s 1882 memorial to Luigi Bodoana. We are restoring both of those, completing this beautiful tableau.

 

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