Hidden treasures

Mars, Adam and Eve: the Doge's Palace celebrates their return

Unknown places & works

Mars, Adam and Eve: the Doge's Palace celebrates their return

After four years of delicate restoration work, the three fifteenth-century statues by the great artist Antonio Rizzo will be exceptionally exhibited in the Sala dello Scrutinio of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. A unique opportunity to admire the splendor of their former condition where the whiteness of Carrara marble is combined with the softness of the shapes and expressiveness of the characters depicting Adam and Eve and Mars, also referred to as the Warrior. These marvelous examples of Venetian Renaissance art were positioned in the alcoves of the Arco Foscari in the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace, remaining there for centuries.

Their first archival record dates back to 1709 when the Senate denounced the deterioration of the facades of the Doge’s Palace and its courtyard where, on special occasions, a temporary stage was set up with spectators who often climbed the statues of the Arco Foscari and caused various sections to be broken. For this reason, the sculptures were restored several times: the most important were the restoration works of 1725 and 1845 respectively by Antonio Corradini and Pietro Lorandini.

In 1915 when Italy entered the war, the statues were protected and covered with sandbags but after the defeat of Caporetto, they were hastily removed and taken away from the city to be housed in Pisa. They returned to the lagoon city in 1919 and were positioned in their original location, until in the first two decades of the twentieth century it was decided to replace the originals with bronze reproductions: the first to be reproduced in bronze was Eve. In 1920 the copy was placed where the original was, which was transferred inside the Palace. The sculptures of Adam and Mars were replaced after the Second World War, between 1953 and 1955. In the following years the group was exhibited in several rooms of the Palace until in the Eighties a final location was chosen in the Liagò.

From 2015 to 2019 the three statues were restored in the Liagò of the Doge’s Palace, transformed into a temporary workshop open to the public. After initial analyses at the CNR in Milan, radiographs and specific high-tech studies in the laboratories of the University of Padua, it was decided to proceed with innovative laser techniques to remove the gray and black patina which had formed over the centuries.

The restoration work, financed by Venetian Heritage, was carried out by Jonathan Hoyte, under the technical direction of a scientific committee comprising the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio of the Municipality of Venice, Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, Scuola Normale in Pisa

If you are visiting Venice, do not miss the opportunity to admire the splendor of Antonio Rizzo’s three great masterpieces in one of the most elegant areas of the Doge’s Palace, the Sala dello Scrutinio! Buy your online ticket for the Doge’s Palace and enjoy with us Venetians this exciting experience!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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