Verrocchio's Christ and St. Thomas: A masterpiece of sculpture from renaissance florence

Verrocchio's Christ and St. Thomas: A masterpiece of sculpture from renaissance florence

Publications Digest been subsequently stolen. This publication concludes with brief accounts of the roles of ICOM, UNESCO and Interpol. The publicatio...

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Publications Digest been subsequently stolen. This publication concludes with brief accounts of the roles of ICOM, UNESCO and Interpol. The publication has been widely distributed to museums, documentation centres, police and customs services, auction houses and ministries of culture around the world, both to assist in identifying and recovering the missing works and to educate a wider public concerning the problems of art theft, thereby mobilizing support for the protection of the world heritage site of Angkor. 1994.1.11.1 Science, Technology and European Cultural Heritage, edited by N.S. Baer, C.

Sabbioni and A.I. Sors. 233 X 150 mm, xxxxii + 996 pp., illustrated in black and white, with tables and figures. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd. (published for the Commission of the European Communities) 1991, E65.00 (ISBN 0 7506 0237 6). Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP, UK. Held in Bologna (Italy) in June 1989, the conference ‘Science, Technology and European Cultural Heritage’ attracted participants from all over the world and this is reflected in the 25 overview papers, 7 case studies and 138 poster papers printed in this sturdy volume, together with Sir John Kendrew’s summary, ‘The role of the international scientific community in the protection of European cultural heritage’-presented in the final session of the conference itself but printed here as a preface-and Norbert Baer’s magisterial ‘Introduction’ which provides an invaluable overview of overviews. Notwithstanding the title and the context, the material presented draws on expertise worldwide and is similarly broad in its applications, and although most of the papers are concerned with architecture and monuments, movable cultural property is also included. The poster papers-short summary papers based on the poster presenta-


tions-are grouped together into eight sections: ‘A. Environmental monitoring, deposition; natural and anthropogenic factors’; ‘B. Microclimate and damage’; ‘C. Mechanisms of environmental damage: natural weathering, air pollution effects and biological mechanisms’; ‘D. Measurement and definition of environmental damage: non-destructive methods, modern imaging methodologies, analytical techniques’; ‘E. Environmental protection, scientific principles of conservation, restoration and maintenance’; ‘F. Natural hazards’; ‘G. Modelling methodology and data banks’; and ‘H. Field and laboratory studies of specific historic areas, monuments and indoor artefacts’. Since the texts have been set from camera-ready copy provided by individual authors there are wide variations in type faces and layout, but the value of the volume lies in its use as a reference source and all but a few of the contributions are easily legible. The volume concludes with subject and author indexes. 1994.1.11.2 Verrocchio’s Christ and St. Thomas: A Masterpiece of Sculpture from Renaissance Florence, edited by Loretta Dolcini.

260 X 239 mm, 128 pp., illustrated in colour and black and white. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993, $60.00 (ISBN 0 8109 64329 5). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028-0198, USA. Much still remains to be discovered about Italian Renaissance bronze casting techniques, not only to improve the basic understanding of how such works were created, which is fundamental to the processes of conservation, but also to cast light on the technical limitations imposed on the artist’s conception. Italian Renaissance bronze casting has been liberally endowed with untested assumptions and backwards extrapolations from later periods, and any project which provides fresh reliable technical data is much to be welcomed.


Publications Digest

In 1989 the two over-life-size bronze figures of Christ and St. Thomas, by Andrea Del Verrocchio, were removed from Orsanmichele, Florence, for conservation. Their subsequent display in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York, in 1992-93, provided an excellent opportunity to open up further the study of the bronze casting techniques employed by Verrocchio. In her essay, ‘Intelligence and harmony in the work of Andrea de1 Verrocchio’, Loretta Dolcini provides the background to the processes of conservation described by Fabio Burrini and Paolo Nencetti (‘The restoration of the bronze figures of Christ and St. Thomas’), while the art historical material available is discussed in some detail by Diane Finiello Zervas (‘The building and decoration of Orsanmichele before Verrocchio’), and Andrew Butterfield (‘The Christ and St. Thomas of Andrea all illustrated with de1 Verrocchio’), superb detail photographs in colour. Massimo Leoni (‘Casting techniques in Verrocchio’s workshop when the Christ and St. Thomas was made’) discusses the background to bronze casting in Florence in the late 15th century and the evidence provided by the sculptures themselves as to the precise casting techniques employed. He observes that the ducts are ‘slanted upwards’ on the two figures, thereby indicating that they were cast standing upright, notwithstanding the serious practical objections to such a scheme. In this respect the reconstructions of the casting technique, made using a series of models which were also displayed in the exhibition, may be seriously misleading. The volume concludes with ‘Metallurgical characterization of bronze by means of scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis’ (Niccol6 Ammannati, Elena Martellucci and Giancarlo Mei) and the ‘Preliminary technical analyses’ undertaken by a team of ten scientists. As a source of additional technical information this publication is most welcome, but the full analysis of the data must be completed later.

1994.1.11.3 Conservation of Documents in Libraries, Archives and Museums, by Ram Samar

Singh. 211 x 135mm, xvi + 16Opp., illustrated in black and white. New Delhi, Aditya Prakashan, 1993, Rs200 (ISBN 81 85689 39 3). Aditya Prakashan, F-14165, Model Town II, Delhi110 009, India Written from the viewpoint of practical paper conservation in tropical and subtropical countries, and in particular the Indian sub-continent, the main purpose of this book has been to collect available data on paper: its physical and physicochemical qualities, factors of deterioration and methods of conservation. Modest in size, the intention is to bring together in one book a range of material addressing the examination, preservation and restoration of documents on paper, since the author believes that this material is ‘not available in any single work on conservation of works of art and a restorator is at loss to know how to proceed; what to test; what are the hazards and what are various tests he should undertake?‘. R.S. Singh is concerned with paper artefacts in archives (documents and MS), in libraries (books, documents and MS) and the full range to be found in museums, together with relevant research considerations. The six main chapters cover the historical origins of techniques of papermaking; the structures, properties and chemistry of paper; the composition and nature of various types of inks and the chemical changes taking place in them; the factors responsible for the deterioration of papers and allied materials, including the damage caused by photoenvironmental chemical processes, changes, biological agents, human negligence and natural calamities; the various responsible for the basic ‘reactions’ deterioration of paper, including the chemical changes involved; and the conservation techniques currently available for paper and allied materials, while the ‘Conclusion’ draws this material together and draws attention again to