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The High Institute for Conservation and Restoration brings the busts of Palmyra, damaged by Isis, back to life

February 15, 2017

 

The two busts of Palmyra that were disfigured by the fury of ISIS, have now been restored by the High Institute for Conservation and Restoration (ISCR). After being saved right after the brief liberation of the Syrian city, the two funerary high-relieves dating back to the 2nd-3rd century A.D. have been entrusted to Italy, following an agreement signed by the Incontri di Civiltà Association and the Directorate-General of Antiquities of Damascus. The busts were the protagonists of last October's exhibition "Rising from Destruction" hosted in the Colosseum, and today the valuable artifacts, conserved in the San Michele laboratories in Rome, received the visit of the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, and the President of the Incontri di Civiltà Association, Francesco Rutelli.

"Here - said Franceschini - is the proof of the quality of our institutes and the reliability that our Country conquered in time. The trustworthiness of our international relations makes it possible to entrust such artifacts to Italy". With respect to the restoration, the High Institute, led by Gisella Capponi, put in place 3D technologies in order to reconstruct the missing parts. "We've performed a small miracle - added Rutelli - Italy, as is its tradition, took on such a delicate task in line with its passion for the conservation of the international heritage".

The sledgehammer signs are still visible on the face and hands of the two funerary busts, that became symbols of the wounded art of Palmyra and the fury of Isis. Saved during the liberation of Palmyra, the busts were transported to Damascus and then to Beirut. From there, the trunks that contained them were boarded on a plane to Rome. "Only after two days spent waiting for all the authorizations", recalled Gisella Capponi.

The restoration will be accomplished by the end of February, when the artifacts will be returned to Damascus. "I hope this is a first step towards Palmyra. A mission involving the Blue Helmets of Culture was planned but could not be realized", said the scholar who brought the artifacts to Italy.

 

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