Maria A. Semina
(St. Petersburg State University, Russia)
Geniune or Remade Item. Condition and Restoration of Ancient Sculpture
The present work touches upon a problem of authenticity of ancient sculpture that is traditionally referred to as dating back to Classical antiquity. In fact many of these items combine fragments from different periods in one and the same sculpture. Some of these parts were executed specially to restore the particular work of art, some belonged to other ancient sculptures, but finally were combined in the same statue, and formally ascribed by the date of the earliest fragment. In many cases such restoration interference into the genuine part influenced the appearance of each monument differently: sometimes it happened to change more or less in comparison with the original, sometimes restoration led to entire reattribution of a statue.
An attempt is made to suggest some criteria for grouping pieces of ancient sculpture depending upon their condition and the prevalence of either original or added parts of later periods. While analyzing the items’ condition, it is important not only to take into account certain features of the present-day appearance of statues, but to research the whole story of the sculptures existence before they entered a museum collection as precisely as possible. Summing up the entire information may become determinant to form the exact conclusion about a statue.
Several sculptures from the collection of the State Hermitage museum are taken as examples to demonstrate the way of grouping sculptures depending on their condition.