Recorded restoration work
Previously used as the gunnery, the room was part of the restoration work carried out by Pozzo and Bottani.
Custodian-restorer Dante Berzuini was working on the painting in the centre of the vault between 1917 and 1918.
In 1943 Arturo Raffaldini restored frescoes and stuccoes and replaced missing parts. In 1967 urgent work was carried out by restorers Ottorino Nonfarmale and Assirto Coffani who stabilized and repaired the painted and moulded decorations.
The work was carried out by Maria Giovanna Romano, who stabilized the parts in danger and cleaned the surfaces, removing recent repainting in oils.
The work was carried out by Maria Chiara Ceriotti (Consorzio Arkè).
Conditions prior to restoration
The stucco work was becoming detached or falling apart, the paint layer was bubbling.
Work carried out
The stuccoes: these were cleaned with a solvent to remove an acrylic resin film, then water and surfactant were used after dampening the surface and scraping with scalpels. The shellac coating the vine shoots around the putti was partly removed.
Backgrounds of the faux cameos: the two-colour scheme of Giulio Romano, with the faux cameos jutting out on a pink polychrome, was re-established. As a stabilizer a rust converter was used, and broken fragments were reattached using resin in emulsion.
Panels with mythological scenes: the two-colour scheme that emerged from layer analysis was delicately put back.
Harpies and shells: stabilizing layers were removed and then water, surfactant and scalpels were used to clean the surface; it was decided to conserve rather than restore the harpies. The layers of shellac on the gilt shells and black eagles were initially cleaned chemically, then with water and clean pure alcohol. Watercolour paints were used to give back the two-tone scheme of the gilt shells and black eagles.
Busts: these are Roman statues reworked during the Renaissance. The work was executed using poultices of ammonium carbonate, and the bust above the entrance was made safe.
Bas reliefs of the frieze: small areas of the plaster were stabilized, while other minor zones at risk were secured.
Eagles: these were given a black watercolour wash to heighten the original polychrome effect.
Fireplace: made of Lumachella marble with stucco hood, it was cleaned with an ammonium carbonate solution to remove the grease. The stuccoes were made with marble powder and slaked lime.
Camera delle Aquile: un busto in fase di pulitura durante il restauro Ceriotti (Consorzio Arké) 1997.
Chamber of the Eagles: a bust being cleaned during the Ceriotti restoration (Consorzio Arké) 1997 (photo Arké)
Camera delle Aquile: un’arpia in stucco in fase di pulitura durante il restauro Ceriotti (Consorzio Arké) 1997.
(foto Archivio Museo Civico di Palazzo Te)
Chamber of the Eagles: a stucco harpy being cleaned during the Ceriotti restoration (Consorzio Arké) 1997 (photo Archivio Museo Civico di Palazzo Te)
Camera delle Aquile: la volta prima del restauro Ceriotti (Consorzio Arké) 1997.
Chamber of the Eagles: the vault before the Ceriotti restoration (Consorzio Arké) 1997 (photo Arké)
Further reading :
P. ARTONI, G. MAROCCHI, I recuperati ambienti di Palazzo Te in Mantova. Tracce per una storia dei restauri, in “Storia e cultura del restauro in Lombardia. Esiti di un biennio di lavoro in archivi storici”, Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo, Lurano, Il Prato editore, 2009, pp. 141-187.