The 4 Seasons sculptures on Ponte Santa Trinita, Firenze, will get a cleaning

The iconic statues of the 4 seasons on the Ponte Santa Trinita are going to get cleaned up soon.  Florence has announced (http://www.theflorentine.net/news/2018/07/ponte-santa-trinita-statues-cleaning/) that the sculptures need some TLC.

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Interestingly, these 4 statues (only 2 of the 4 are in my pictures above) were sculpted to celebrate the marriage between Cosimo II de’ Medici and Maria Maddalena of Austria in 1608.

Even more interestingly, they were originally intended to be placed in niches or against a wall in the giardino of Villa Corsini al Prato in Florence.  They were not designed to be seen in the round, but in the round they have always been on the bridge.

The following artists were commissioned to create: Primavera by Pietro Francavilla; L’estate e L’autunno by Giovanni Caccini; and L’inverno by Taddeo Landini.

On the night between 3 and 4 of August 1944, the bridge was destroyed by retreating German troops on the advance of the British 8th Army. A Bailey bridge was built for temporary use by the Royal engineers.

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The Renaissance replica bridge was constructed in 1958 with original stones raised from the Arno or taken from the same quarry, under the direction of architect Riccardo Gizdulich and engineer Emilio Brizzi.

Miraculously, the statues were more or less intact and returned to the replacement bridge upon its completion.  Only the head of Primavera was missing. The missing head  was recovered from the bed of the Arno in October 1961 and added to the sculpture we see today.

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The cleaning, which will involve the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, will include ridding the statues of the layers of soot that has settled on them over the years and treating the works with a waterproof layer to protect them from further damage by atmospheric agents.

 

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