The Head of Basel restoration workshop opens at MArRC

There is great anticipation for the opening of the restoration workshop for the Head of Basilea, scheduled for Thursday, September 14, at 6pm, at the National Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria.

After the success of the restoration of the Knight of Casa Marafioti, brought back to the original beauty thanks to the Restituzioni project and exhibited at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan in 2016, another important collection from the MArRC collection will be the subject of a delicate restorative intervention thanks to patronage or national artistic heritage by Intesa Sanpaolo.

The project Restituzioni, conceived and managed by Intesa Sanpaolo Bank since 1989, in synergy with MiBACT, over nearly thirty years of activities, has enabled the return to the community well over 1000 works of art and to divulge the scientific outcomes of the related research.

Thanks to the collaboration established by the Bank with Superintendents and Museums in charge of the protection of national heritage, the edition 2016-2018 of Restituzioni has opened 78 restoration sites for the recovery of roughly 200 works of art.

Starting Thursday, the Head of Basel will be the subject of restorer Giuseppe Mantella and his team, under the direction of Museum Director Carmelo Malacrino, who initiated the scientific investigation together with Professor Riccardo Di Cesare of the University of Foggia .

“After the Bronzes of Riace and the Head of the Philosopher, with which it was found, the so-called Head of Basel is certainly one of the most significant and enigmatic finds within the Museum – says Malacrino. We are pleased that a piece of such historical and artistic value, many years after its discovery, can finally be restored and that it is done with the contribution of a private body that has long been involved in the preservation and enhancement of Italian cultural heritage.”

Discovered in 1969, in Porticello (Villa San Giovanni), the Head of Basel derives its title from the acquisition of the artifact by the Antikenmuseum by the Helvetian city. The work was then returned to Italy, because it was the subject of illegal acquistion at the time of discovery.

The head, dating back to the 5th century BC, likely belonged to a statue of a deity or of a person of high ranking in that period, already in ancient times subject to an intentional fragmentation to obtain material to be recast.

The original bronze patina has suffered a strong chemical aggression caused by a poor treatment with aggressive chemical agents and the making of a cast, making it difficult for each stylistic assessment.

Restorer Giuseppe Mantella, who will lead the yard’s team is very enthusiastic saying: “The goal of the restoration will be to verify the presence of terroso and limestone residues, the progress of mineralization phenomena and the extension of degradation. If such processes are not stopped, they will inevitably lead to the reduction of the metal core and consequent loss of original material. It will also be an opportunity to verify the presence of microfractures and deformations which, by increasing the fragility of the article, could jeopardize its structural stability.”

The activities will be carried out with the help of latest generation instrumentation and laser technology for surface cleaning, as well as experimenting with manufactum of the same nature present in the museum.