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Philadelphia Museum of Art to Regild Saint-Gauden’s Sculpture Diana

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will undertake a major project to regild Diana, the thirteen-foot-tall sculpture of the Roman goddess by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that commands the Museum’s Great Stair Hall and was once mounted atop the tower of Madison Square Garden, which was completed in 1890 to designs by the American architect Stanford White. Made possible by a grant from Bank of America, this work will be undertaken by the Museum’s Conservation Department in consultation with its department of American Art and is expected to last approximately four months.

The treatment plan will consist of corrosion removal, surface preparation for the application of gold size, and the laying of 180 square feet of gold leaf. This regilding project involves several phases of preparation: research on the manufacture and appearance of the sculpture in the 1890s, and an assessment and documentation of the current structural condition of its sheet copper and armature, including the rotating mechanism of the weather vane.

The treatment of this work has been funded through Bank of America’s Global Art Conservation Project, one of twenty-four initiatives in sixteen countries that have been selected for grant funding in 2013. “Art has a unique ability to connect people and communities and to help economies thrive,” said Rena DeSisto, Global Arts and Culture Executive at Bank of America. “The works we have selected can provide a lasting reflection of people and history. As a company with clients in over one hundred countries, we are funding the preservation of these important works to contribute to the cultural enrichment and advancement of future generations.”