Domenico & Giovanni Maino Tomb, 1880

Restoration began the week of December 12, 2016 and took two months to complete.

  • The Maino tomb by Domenico Carli, 1880

    The Maino tomb by Domenico Carli, 1880

    Restoration will take two to three months.
  • The Maino memorial, Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.

    The Maino memorial, Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.

    A statue of Domenico Maino is an excellent example of the late 19th century sculptural style known as “Bourgeois Realism”.
  • Portrait relief on the pedestal of the Maino sculpture.

    Portrait relief on the pedestal of the Maino sculpture.

    Portrait of Father Giovanni Maino, the brother of Domenico Maino
  • Statue of Domenico Maino

    Statue of Domenico Maino

    Domenico Maino stands in front of a table in an informal pose, holding a piece of embroidered cloth (perhaps the table cloth). A few carved marble books are the table behind him, looking like he had just casually set them down after reading them.
  • Memorial to Domenico and Giovanni Maino

    Memorial to Domenico and Giovanni Maino

    Businessman Domenico Carli stands on a pedestal. His brother Giovanni, a priest, is represented in a relief portrait carved in the pedestal.
  • Before and after restoration

    Before and after restoration

    The restoration is now complete.

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 memorial to Domenico and Giovanni Maino is an excellent example of the style of Bourgeois Realism. Domenico, an “honest and zealous businessman”stands atop a tall pedestal. In a departure from Carli’s earlier neo classical work, the figure stands in an informal and very natural pose. Domenico’s brother Giovanni, a priest, is represented in a tondo (round framed format) portrait relief carved in the pedestal.

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 was 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. Mild solutions of distilled water and inorganic solvents also are judiciously used to dissolve the heaviest staining. 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. All work was supervised by the art historians and restoration specialists of the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio, the agency that protects all of Italy’s artistic treasures. We carefully document every phase of the work.

 

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