Venice's Doge's Palace exceptionally exhibits Antonio Rizzo's statues after restoration

After restoration supported by Venetian Heritage, the marble statues by Antonio Rizzo that were placed in the courtyard niches are exceptionally displayed at the Doge's Palace.

In the Scrutiny Room of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, the 15th-century statues by Antonio Rizzo are exceptionally displayed after their restoration. These depict Adam and Eve and the Warrior (Mars), were made for the fa├žade of theFoscari Arch in the second half of the 15th century and have been in the niches of the Doge’s Palace courtyard for centuries. Today the niches contain bronze copies, and the restoration of the marble originals was carried out under the supervision of a special Scientific Committee and with the support of Venetian Heritage.

Antonio Rizzo, probably from Verona, arrived in Venice before 1465; in 1469 he became chief sculptor of the Foscari Arch and in 1485 was appointed protomaestro. In between these years, he made the tomb of Doge Niccolò Tron in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, was confrere of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, and was commissioned by the doge to make three altars in St. Mark’s Basilica.

He also rebuilt the right wing of the Doge’s Palace that had been destroyed by fire; however, in 1948 the artist fled Venice after selling all his possessions and was accused of the disappearance of a rich sum of money by two senators who had controlled the accounts of the rebuilding of the Doge’s Palace.

The three statues of Adam and Eve and the Warrior were first witnessed in 1709, when it was reported in the Senate that the facades of the Doge’s Palace, and in particular the courtyard, were deteriorating due to people frequently climbing on the statues of the Foscari Arch causing them to break. They were restored several times and in 1917 they were removed all together from their original place and transferred to Pisa; two years later they returned to their Venetian location.

The statue depicting Eve was the first to be reproduced in bronze, and its copy took the place of the original, which in turn was moved inside the Palace. The other two were replaced instead after World War II, between 1953 and 1955. In the following years the group was displayed in various rooms of the Palace, and around the 1980s it found its place in the Liagò.

From 2015 to 2019, Antonio Rizzo’s three statues underwent restoration in the Liagò of the Ducal Palace, which was transformed for the occasion into a temporary laboratory visible to the public. After preliminary analyses at the CNR in Milan and high-tech X-rays and specific analyses in the laboratories of the University of Padua, it was decided to proceed with innovative laser techniques to remove the gray and black patina accumulated over the centuries.

Image: Antonio Rizzo, Warrior (second half 15th century; marble; Venice, Arco Foscari, Doge’s Palace)

Venice's Doge's Palace exceptionally exhibits Antonio Rizzo's statues after restoration
Venice's Doge's Palace exceptionally exhibits Antonio Rizzo's statues after restoration

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