One of Rome's most famous statues is to be completely renovated and protected against pollution.
GV Statue surrounded by scaffolding
CU PULL BACK TO SV & PAN Horses's head, rider and outstretched arm
TV Workmen examining statue
SV Statue base showing legs
TV Room at Central Institute of Restoration where statue will be taken (2 shots)
CUs Mosaic decoration awaiting restoration (2 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Restorer at work on painting
CU PULL BACK TO SV Scientist with micro-scope examining material from statue
SV/CU Samples from statues awaiting scientific examination (2 shots)
SV & CU Scientists running tests on samples (4 shots)
GV Woman restoring painting
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Background: One of Rome's most famous statues is to be completely renovated and protected against pollution. It's the equestrian statue of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, which has suffered severe damage as a result of air pollution and corrosion. It is to be moved indoors to prevent any further deterioration.
SYNOPSIS: The statue of Marcus Aurelius was once covered in gold leaf, and legend has it that Rome will fall when all the gold has gone. The legend hasn't come true, but the decay of this much admired statue and numerous other Roman monuments has taken on alarming proportions. Two years ago, art authorities published a report predicting that the city's 2,000-year old monuments would be reduced to crumbling lumps of marble by the end of the century. Air pollution and traffic vibration are eating away at the delicate surfaces, but now the restorers have taken charge in a desperate effort to save the monuments from total destruction.
The Central Institute of Restoration is where most of the work will be carried out. The statue will be taken there for its face lift. The Italian government has recently passed a special law which will fund the restoration work over the next five years and an ambitious programme has been conceived which includes the restoration of paintings, statues and monuments.
Today's restorers are also chemists. Their work is as scientific as it is artistic. In order to clean pollution residues from the statues, the surfaces are treated with light chemicals. Stronger solvents might damage the delicate surfaces. The work is complicated and time consuming. Since only light chemicals can be used, the treatment has to be repeated every five years. But even the light solvents can damage the stone, so samples have to be taken and tested. Only then can the restorers return to their more traditional utensils of paint and brush. It's a mammoth task, and the restorers say their work is as everlasting as the monuments in the Eternal City.