Unveiling of Art Restoration in Boboli Gardens

Giovanni Battista Capezzuoli’s “Gioco della Civetta.”

On the morning of June 11, in the Boboli Gardens, an old masterpiece was unveiled as new: Giovanni Battista Capezzuoli’s statue of two children playing an outdoor game, Gioco della Civetta. The white marble sculpture, originally created in circa 1775, recently received a breath of new life thanks to the generosity of an American foundation, Friends of Florence.

The restoration itself was spearheaded by Miriam Ricci, a professional specialized in the preservation of marble. The process was very complicated, involving several rounds of deep cleanings as well as the application of certain chemicals. The statue, as one can imagine, was in poor condition previously: the stone was eroding, the surface of the work was splattered with patches of harmful moss and algae, and the effects of years of exposure to the elements were evident. One of the last and most essential steps in the restoration process involved preventative measures against damage of this sort in the future.

The Friends of Florence was founded in 1998, with the goal of raising and providing the funds necessary to restore and protect priceless works of art in the city, both from the relentless passage of time and the detriments of overexposure to global tourism. The essence of the nonprofit organization is a profound appreciation for and value of Florence’s inestimable artistic endowment.

The President, Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda, announced that this project is one that the foundation is particularly proud of: it is the first restoration done in the name of the children of its members, Bambini of Friends of Florence. The association regularly sponsors family events, such as Easter egg hunts, lessons, museum visits, etc. The fundraising that has been done on these occasions was substantial enough to finance the reparation of Gioco della Civetta — a fitting subject as well as location (the Giardini di Boboli is a frequent play spot). The hope is that the Bambini will learn to value the cultural treasures of Florence in the same way that their parents do.  (emma hempstead)