State of preservation


Detail of Ariadna's foot after restoration

Detail of Ariadna's foot before restoration

When restoration work began in October 2010 the sculpture presented a significant amount of surface dirt indicating that it had been exposed to the air for a lengthy period of time. It also had traces of greasy substances and remains of a protective wax layer that had resulted in the accumulation of dust and other solid particles.

This sculpture is made up of numerous fragments, some of them original and others later additions. This is a characteristic frequently encountered in works in the Museum’s classical sculpture collection, particularly in those formerly in the royal collections. In this case, the reconstructions date from the 17th century when the sculpture was the subject of intervention in Gianlorenzo Bernini’s studio. They are high quality additions and can be seen as a historical document that reflects the taste and criteria of earlier restoration methods when complete reconstruction was the intended outcome.

Each of the original or later elements of which the Ariadne is now made up produced joins that resulted in clearly visible dark lines, the presence of which prevented an overall reading of the work.

The losses to the sculpture were insignificant, mainly consisting of the fingers and toes, in addition to small breaks in the folds of the clothes and gaps in the back in areas of replaced elements.

When previously displayed at the Museum the sculpture had been placed on a polyester support in order to close the lateral spaces.

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