Restoration and Rediscovery

About the Project

Acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1973, the statue of Saint Paul the Hermit remained a mystery for the longest time. It was exhibited with an attribution to the 17th-century sculptor Francesco Mochi, when in fact the sculpture was made more than a full century later, by the important sculptor Andrea Bergondi. (Bergondi continued to employ a Baroque visual language despite the dawn of Neoclassicism.) Moreover, the statue had been mounted in an awkward way in the 1960s, tipped forward by about 45 degrees, which impeded its correct reading and understanding.

An exhibition during the Spring of 2012 documented the research and conservation process that took place to restore this statue to its original position and glory. It also shed light on other aspects, from carving technique and construction to the sculpture's original context, meaning, and history.

The conservation was carried out by senior objects conservator Donna Haberman and associate objects conservator Nicole Grabow of the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC).

Generous support for restoration provided by Friends of the Institute

The exhibition was supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Saint Paul the Hermit, after restoration

The statue of Saint Paul the Hermit after restoration.