With work beginning in 2012, we are happy to say that this colossal statue of a defeated prince has been fully restored and is ready for display. The statue was part of a decorative scheme used to adorn the great Trajan Forum inaugurated by the Emperor in 113 AD. The impressive piece depicts a Dace prince dressed in a long tunic – arms crossed in front of his body in a attitude associated with prisoners. The sculpture is made of pavonazzetto – a white marble extracted from purple veins in the quarries of ancient Phrygia, in the heart of Turkey. These pavonazzetto sculptures were larger than those in white marble, thus they were possibly placed on the top of the decorated arcade.
How do you restore a prince?
A Deep Wash:
The process of restoration was extensive and took meticulous effort. Primarily, cleaning of surface deposits were accomplished using compresses of deionized water. This brought out the real sheen of the purple veined marble.
Keeping his integrity – with lasers!:
During the restoration, a light coating applied in ancient times was discovered that probably balanced the stone material’s integration. Restorers Dr. Giandomenico Spinola and Dr. Claudia Valeri decided to respect this and with laser cleaning were able to approximate the original look of the statue.
No such thing as a small surgery:
Parts of the piece had to be dismantled in order to finish the job. A steel pin from the 1800s that held part of the cloak in place was replaced and his nose had to be removed to care for the wax-resin that had anchored it in ancient times.
Finally the fingers:
In the end, the original parts of the fingers were repositioned and adhered with plaster colored to match the statue using watercolors.
Though not yet on display because of finishing touches on the pedestal – prepare to see the Dacian Prince in all his glorious defeat very soon in the halls of the museum.