Statue Conservation

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Objectives

To continue the conservation treatment of the monumental seated statue of Apollo Klarios, focusing specifically on the recreation of missing sections that impair and detract from the visual intelligibility of the figure. Likewise, conservation will focus on the aesthetic integration of the large cracks and gaps with modern fill materials, starting from the lower section and working upwards, to achieve a more comprehensible aesthetic whole.

Methodology and Materials

The seated Apollo figure has many missing sections and large gaps between fragments that are visually and aesthetically disturbing and could have potential long-term structural implications. In the case of missing sections (the lower section of drapery surrounding the right knee and shin, as well as portions of the upper right arm and the lyre) an appropriate fill material will be introduced to serve as a physical transition and support. The fill material will effectively transfers all gravitational forces acting on the statue from one side of the join to the other. The material must be similar in density to the surrounding stone and have suitable weight so as to give a greater equilibrium to the statue as a hole and avoid any potential point loading. In all cases, the fill material will bridge the two sides of a break join and fill any large empty masses, reconstructing a form and surface sympathetic to the original stone of the statue in level, texture and color. As with previous reassembly operations, the idea of reversibility is important, allowing a fill material to be easily removed with minimal disturbance to the join surfaces and have no effect on the existing structural stability. Equally, the fill material will be easy to apply and manipulate with little or no distortion during drying or setting.

There are many effective possible fill materials for large structural areas. Any that will be employed will need to be physically and chemically stable resin and able to sustain high compression and tensile loads. These should be applied in a plastic and deformable form that, once shaped, will harden through curing or setting. Used in combination with isolating materials, such as plastic films and adhesive barriers, fill materials can be applied to conform to the specific morphology of each join surface, while also being manipulated to achieve an appropriate size, shape and texture. Fill materials can be used singularly or combined with high-density ethafoam to increase ease of removal. Small and large non-structural gaps can be filled with a combination of various molecular weight (MW) marble and cellulose powders in Paraloid B48N that can be applied as a paste and allowed to dry. Both fill types will be applied by trowel and/or small spatulas and can be manipulated while still plastic with sponges or after drying with scalpels, chisels, files, and rasps. In both cases, the fills will then be further tonally integrated with the application of dried mineral pigments in a methylcellulose binder or with acrylic paints.