New technologies applied to restore a nineteenth-century wax Medardo Rosso sculpture

Lluïsa Sàrries-Zgonc


Using a number of cutting-edge technologies, I restored Bambino ebreo, a damaged 19th century wax sculpture by Italian modernist Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) and structurally reinforced it to prevent future damage. The sculpture was dubbed the “McArthur” cast for this project.
Scientists took detailed three-dimensional scans of ten casts of this same subject from various collections in order to learn more about how each serial sculpture varies from its peers. On my initial consideration of the restoration, I realized we could use these scans to determine the likely original character of the McArthur cast. I considered the question of whether to interfere with the sculpture at all given the fragility of the wax and extent of the loss; it became clear that using this 3D technology was the best way to reconstruct the sculpture’s missing parts as faithfully as possible to the original, with minimal intervention. 

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2017 | Chicago | Volume 24