Stanford conservators work to preserve Rodin Sculpture Garden


Stanford University. We’re working on washing all
of the sculptures around campus and putting a protective
wax coating on them. In particular, the Rodin
Sculpture Garden right next to the Cantor Arts Center. All the sculptures in the
garden are made of bronze. The patina is very
susceptible to damage, which is the color coating
that the creator of the art put on the sculptures to
make them look a certain way. The patina is a chemical
reaction with the metal. And this is very fragile and
can be worn down over the years. Acid rain, UV radiation
from light and people touching the sculptures, there
are a lot of different things that cause damage, especially
when they’re outdoors. First, we’ll inspect
all of the sculptures, make sure that
there’s no damage. Then we’ll wash the
sculptures using water and a very mild detergent. Rinse it off, towel it dry,
and then apply a wax coating. We’ll do that by
hand so that we get into all of the crevices of the
sculpture, and all of the metal surfaces. The wax is applied
onto the patina to act as a barrier between
the patina and the environment. To ensure that the
patina doesn’t wear down, and so that the
sculptures don’t corrode. Once the sculpture starts to
corrode and change colors, then you’re changing
the original intention of the artist’s work. Art conservation is a
combination between studio art, art history, and science. I love taking care
of art and preserving the history behind it. For more, please visit
us at www.stanford.edu.

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