Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Restorer at Work, Ca' Rezzonico
There's always something interesting to see, or see in a new way, at Ca' Rezzonico, but I'd never before seen any restorers at work there. The man in the photo above was working in a front corner of what's called "The Throne Room" (after a large impressive gilded seat of that sort) on one of a suite of chairs originally belonging to the Barbarigo family whose creation is attributed, according to the Ca' Rezzonico website, to Antonio Corradini, "a sculptor from Este, active in Venice up to the 1720s."
So much of the extensive restoration work required in Venice is decorously veiled from public view or takes place off-site that I was surprised to find this man and a colleague working out in the open, cordoned off from museum traffic by just a couple of sawhorses and some striped plastic tape. His colleague, who was at work on a couch--part of which you can see in the photo above--didn't want her picture taken. I could easily have lingered for a fairly long while looking on, perhaps a little envious of the skill and training that allowed them to engage in a hands-on way with the past, but I took just this one photo and left them in peace, to work on those perfect examples of what Marcel Proust called (in another Venetian context) "the past risen familiarly up in the midst of the present"--objects Proust considered essentially "inviolable", capable of "pushing aside the present," no matter how much touching up they sometimes need.