Art: 4 mln restoration of Louvre's Nike of Samothrace starts

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30 August, 13:56

    Nike of Samotrace will be restored Nike of Samotrace will be restored

    (By Aurora Bergamini) (ANSAmed) - PARIS - Major restoration work of the Nike of Samothrace at the Louve Museum is about to kick off. The celebrated winged sculpture dominates the monumental stairs built on a project by Hector Lefuel between the Galerie d'Apollon and the Salon Carre', one of the most visited at the Parisian museum together with the Venus de Milo. It will not be shown to the public starting Tuesday for about a year. The statue will be moved to an adjoining room, the Salle des sept Cheminees, inside a closed booth for security reasons.

    Progress on restoration work will be reported online at www.louvresamothrace.fr and a committee of experts will follow all the phases. The operation is worth 4 million euros, one more than originally scheduled, of which three will be provided by sponsors. The Louvre has called on companies and private donors to provide funding for the rest of the money with the campaign 'Tous mecenes!'.

    The restoration will not be about adding arms and a head, the museum curators assured: the statue will be dismantled bloc by bloc, enabling renovators to clean the marble which has become darker with time. This will also enable to ascertain the state of conservation of the artwork and the assembling of various pieces as well as reintegrate fragments found over the past century and to re-build thanks to scientific analysis and 3D computer science, its history and location (with the programme of the Centre de Recherche et Restauration des Musees de France).

    A block of cement at the statue's feet added in 1934 to highlight the leaping effect will be removed. The objective is to give the whole monuments an aspect that is more faithful to the original version: according to scientific research, the sculpture was set higher thanks to a base placed in the marble's bow at the same height. Found in 1863 in the Greek island of Samothrace in the Aegean Sea, this masterpiece of Hellenistic art, sculpted on splendid white marble of Paros, represents the young winged goddess, daughter of Zeus, who brings the announcement of victory to the military as she rests on the bow of warships - in grey, veined marble of Lartos. Attributed to Pitocrito, it was sculpted in Rhodes in the Hellenistic period, in the II century BC: It is believed to represent a commemorative offer to the sanctuary of the Great Gods the Cabeiri for a naval victory. According to a thesis, it was the one obtained by Rhodes warriors in 190 BC in the battle of Side over the fleet of Syrian King Antioch III. There is also a possibility that it is a copy of a classic sculpture dating back to the beginning of the III century BC.

    The last restoration was carried out between 1880 and 1884, when the right wing and left breast were rebuilt with plaster and a metal structure was created to keep together the gragments of the left wing. The Nike of Samothrace should remain in its place, in a room which has been completely renovates, by next June. Meanwhile, said Ludovic Laugier, an engineer at the Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities at the Louvre and one of the curators of the restoration, the Escalier Daru, the stairs leading to the statue will also be restored 'without however completely closing this important access to the museum used every year by over 7 million visitors' which connects the Sully wing with Denon. (ANSAmed)

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