Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, the restoration is over!
FLORENCE- The famous statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini stands in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria Florence where it has been nearly continuously since its completion around 1554.
The statue was removed for a 3 weeks restoration from October until November 19th 2013 and then back under the Loggia. More than a restoration, indeed, it was an emergency maintenance intervention, due to the deterioration of the original protective resins.
The last extensive restoration was done in the late 19 nineties, and perhaps the statue was moved (or sandbagged) during WW II. While there is a constant conservation in Florentine and Italian art and preservation circles about eventually moving this sculpture indoors and replacing it with a copy, at this point the original is in place, although the marble base with small bronzes is a replica (the original base is in the Bargello Museum). It seems that, according to Dr. Antonio Godoli, responsible of the last maintenance work, prevention of more serious problems to this famous bronze statue can be done with a constant preventative attitude.
The Cellini’s Perseus is a truly remarkable bronze casting and the artist mentions in his autobiography the troubles he had making it (Cellini was better known as a goldsmith and his bust is displayed on the Ponte Vecchio to celebrate this fact). The rear of Perseus' helmet is allegedly a self portrait of the artist - see if you can make it out when you visit Florence.