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The restored bronze statue Winged Victory returns to Brescia

15.09.20
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The Institute “Opificio delle pietre dure” (literally “Workshop of semi-precious stones”) of Florence is completing the restoration of the Vittoria Alata (Winged Victory), a large archaeological bronze statue and symbol of Brescia. The opening to the public is scheduled for the end of November.

After three years spent in Florence for an important restoration the Winged Victory will return to Brescia in October. The public will be able to admire the large bronze statue again in its new set-up in the eastern part of the Capitolium (where it was found) on a special ant-seismic base. Before its inauguration, a private visit by President Mattarella is planned.

The artwork

One of the few large bronze statues preserved to this day, represents the Roman goddess of Victory carving the name of the victor on a shield, now missing.

Made in the second quarter of the first century AD by a bronze workshop of northern Italy, it was discovered during archaeological excavations in 1826 at the Capitolium of ancient Brixia and has become the historical symbol of the city.

Its image is known internationally also thanks to the many copies that were exposed in numerous museums in Europe and the United States since the nineteenth century. Napoleon III asked for a copy to celebrate Solferino's victory against the Austrian army in 1859. The beauty of the statue was also praised by Gabriele D'Annunzio and Giosuè Carducci.

Restoration

The restorers removed the internal filling of the statue, originally hollow, inserted about 180 years ago during the first restoration of the artwork, to give it stability. The organic components of the nineteenth century-filling risked to cause dangerous alterations and the iron support was causing a slow structural suffering. Overall almost 100 kg of different types of material have been removed.

The cleaning of external surfaces eliminated the various substances accumulated over time on the surface of the statue (incoherent products altering the bronze, earthy residuals and carbonized organic material).

This delicate job brought out the softness of the drapery and some accurate details of the head: the eyebrows, the diadem and the hairstyle. Traces of gilding besides those already known have been recovered on arms and hands.

To the restoration project, proposed by the Fondazione Brescia Musei (Brescia Museums Foundation) and the Municipality of Brescia, also the Camozzi Group contributed.

Lodovico Camozzi, President of the Camozzi Group, commented:

"We are very proud to have taken part in the restoration of the Winged Victory and we are always ready to give back to the territory what we have received, to leave a legacy for future generations."