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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
046. (Objects) Reconstructed, Re-cut, and Re-interpreted: Dionysos and Maenad at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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A restored ancient sculpture within the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was recently transferred from the Art of the Ancient World to the Art of Europe and reconsidered as an eighteenth century work of art. The sculpture stands one meter tall and depicts the figures Dionysos and Maenad walking with arms around one another. When acquired in 1968, it was understood to be a pastiche containing a Roman fragment made complete and purchased by James Hugh Smith Barry during his Grand Tour from 1771-1780.  Related sculptures were made after this antique, but two ancient examples of this group suggest that the MFA ancient fragment may have been re-cut from the god, Priapos, who's distinguishing feature is notably absent from the MFA version.  The Objects Conservation Department continues to reassess its condition in preparation for exhibition, which has involved re-examination of the surfaces and comparing possible toolmarks made to the ancient fragment during restoration.  Visible characteristics associated with re-cutting appear to have resulted from the removal of calcareous surface deposits, integration of losses or damage, and modifications to integrate the added components.  Based on surface alone, it is difficult to determine with certainty that Priapos was the original ancient subject.  Further discussion around the stability and aesthetics of the eighteenth century restoration have been and continue to be compelling.

Speaker(s)
avatar for Gerri Strickler, [PA]

Gerri Strickler, [PA]

Associate Conservator, Objects, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Gerri Strickler is an Associate Objects Conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She earned her M.A., C.A.S., in Art Conservation from the State University College at Buffalo, and B.A., in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware. Before joining the Conservation and... Read More →


Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower

Attendees (25)