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Statue Conservation in Action at the MFA Boston

Roman Juno statue

Juno in her former home, a suburban Boston estate garden (Photo: MFA)

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is hosting an interesting conservation project.  An impressive Trajanic or Hadrianic Period (early second century A.D.) statue of Juno was moved into the George D. and Margo Behrakis Gallery of ancient art this week.  Given its massive size of 13ft and 13,000 lbs, conservator will be examining, cleaning and repairing the work in situ.  Recently donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, the statue has spent the last 100 years in an estate garden just outside of Boston.  The resulting wind, snow, freeze-thaw, biological and vandal damage has taken a toll on the piece.  The Museum is raising money to support the conservation.  You can learn more about this on-going project at the MFA’s website.

I’m particularly interested in the analysis of the head.  It is clear that it was reattached at one or more times in the piece’s history; however, it also seems that the head and body are not the same marble and may have been united at a later time.  Given that little historical information exists about the piece prior to the 17th century, curators and conservators will have to rely on scientific analysis to understand the past of this statue.

Juno's head was removed to protect it during transport (Photo: MFA, Boston)

Layers of plaster and glue illustrate past repairs to the neck of Juno. (Photo: MFA, Boston)

roman statue repair with iron pin

Close up of the iron pin holding the right arm in place. (Photo: MFA, Boston)

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