Sometimes a sculpture we know made of wood reveals another nature. As well, there are many objects which were created with materials that are not taken into account, less considered because they are made with poor materials. This happens especially with devotional artwork. 


totale prima e dopo      

The Crucifix before and after the restoration.

My thesis concerned the restoration of a life size Crucifix, which it was known made of wood by the cronicles. We discovered that it was created with a technique we have never found on our territory till now: an impasto of plaster, silicatic material, wood fibers and probably organic material to keep everything together. This discovery opened some important questions for the history of art and techniques. The Crucifix was repainted many times and during the Century, it achieved a weird appearance. The syntetic colours used on the surface, as well as the addiction of neo-baroque style decoration  were covering an older manufacture. We took it back to the first repainting because the original one was too weakly joined to the impasto support, but we discovered the original opened eyes, the original double crossed loin-cloth and some anatomic details which permitted the attribution of this first restoration to a very important workshop surely existing in Bologna: the Niccolò dell'Arca workshop. The sculpture, that at this stage has been dated around the end of the 15th Century, could be much older: some details reveal that it could be even made at the beginning of the 15th Century.
From my research, it came out that in the past this Crucifix was very important for the Bologna Catholic Community, and it was known as "the Holy Crucifix".
This work was supervised by the Professor of the Restoration of wooden sculpture laboratory at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, Graziella Accorsi, and by the Superintendence. It is located into the Santa Maria Maddalena Church in Bologna.
      viso a confronto   con parrucca

The face before and after the restoration, and the original wig.


     prima     dopo

The Crucifix before and after the restoration.

The Crucifix, preserved in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena of Bologna, was about one meter high. It was made with the technique we call "papier maché",  that  needs to be strenghten by some layers of canvas. Many deep cracks were opened on the knees and arms areas, one arm was totally separated from the scupture. Most of the fingers were lost. The restoration was made into the laboratory of "Restoration of wooden sculpture" at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna.
mano dx   mano dopo   mano sx prima   mano sx dopo

Details of the hands before and during the restoration.

gambe prima   gambe dopo   viso prima   testa dopo

Legs and head before and during the restoration.


viso crocifisso   viso crocifisso

Face of the Crucifix before the restoration.

   torso   mano prima

Body and hand before the restoration.

This poor Crucifix, owned by a private, was found in a wall hollow space in the interior of a beautiful Villa. Probably it was hidden during the war with the intention of saving it. It was disfigured by rain streaks, and humidity compromised also the shape of the body, which appeared squeezed. The line of junction of the two valves which were composing the sculpture was visible and we had to streghten it. I worked on it most of the time I spent at the SOS ART laboratory during my 300 hours practical training: surface cleaning, consolidation, fingers and loin-cloth integration were my work, as well as many putties. I made just tome test with the retouching, because other works were asking our attention.
         viso stucco     viso colore   mano prima  mano dopo    
Face and hand before and during the restoration.

piedi inizio   piedi ricostruzion   piedi pittura

I The feet before and during the restoration.


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