Bronzes of Riace are a pair of Greek statues of V  century; a., that expose in the national Museum of the Great Regal Greece of of Calabria . They are two of the few bronze examples that are of the old, together Greek art for example, Poseidón of the National archaeological Museum of Athens, or Auriga de Delphi . They were found in the neighborhoods of the locality of Riace, in the Regal province of of Calabria in 1972 .
The following year an equipment to the control of the investigator Young Lamboglia tried to find pecio of the boat that would have transported the sculptures, but after several attempts only were 28 metallic hoops, probably pertaining to the sails of a ship, as well as a fragment than it could be the grip of statue A. A hypothesis aims at that the crew of the supposed ship could as much have thrown overboard the two sculptures as rest of the equipment, on the occasion of some storm, being shipwrecked later the boat in another place, or reaching finally the coast. Other studies realized by Brown Paolo, professor of Archeology and Historia of the Greek and Roman Art of the university of Rome have contributed other data. The appearance of some rest of wood than could be a Roman ship of imperial time, and the fact that the two figures were found little distance (done this that hardly would have happened in case they had been thrown voluntarily) they cause that the hypothesis of the launching by the hut staggers.
During the first interventions realized by the technicians of national Museum of Great Regal Greece of of Calabria became the excellent invoice evident of the two figures, and the suspicions that aimed at that were confirmed they were two magnificent units of V  century; a.
They were registered with numbers 12801 and 12802, and a patient work of loosening of the rest of shells was begun and calcareous concretions that had adhered to the bronze surface throughout the many centuries last in I milk marine. To the month of its discovery, and with the publication of the first slides, the scientific community was conscious of the importance of the finding. Immediately they realized of which with the average limited ones on which it was counted it was impossible to realize a complete restoration, being decided its transfer to Florence . In January of 1975 the two statues were in charge of Francesco Nicosia, superintendent of the archaeological goods of Tuscan, in the famous factory of the Offizio delle pietre lasts. After five years of restoration in which diverse techniques were used, like ultrasounds, treatments of benzotriazole in located areas, gamma Rays and X-rays (that detected an internal problem of oxidation), the statues exhibited in Archaeological Museum of Florence first, and later in Rome, being transferred later to their definitive location. Principle of the Nineties they were observed the appearance of numerous phenomena of degradation that advised the transfer of the figures to Florence to be drained again completely of the rest that in their interior were fruit of the smelting process, the call land of fusion. The corresponding one to bronze B was identified like originating of Athens of century V, whereas the one of the bronze To came from Argus. After a treatment anticorrosion the statues again were transferred to their habitual residence, where they are exposed in the great room, put under a constant temperature of 21-23 degrees and a constant humidity of 40- 50%.
The studies have determined that the two figures were realized following the method called of direct fusion, a difficult method in which does not fit the error, since once the bronze is spilled the previous mud model it destroys. This technique consisted of making one first figure of mud with the form of the object to realize. Later it was covered with a fine wax layer (of a thickness that varies of the 7 to the 8 millimeters in the case of the statues of Riace) that, it was cover as well on the other mud layer, or another refractory material in which several orifices practiced. The fused metal, bronze generally, were spill by one or several holes (water throughs) located in the part superior, and the alloy was moving to the wax that left by one or more orifices inferiors. Once cooled all the set, the outer mud layer was broken, being the final bronze. With a pointed element the original nucleus was also broken to take step to the finished piece. Nevertheless dice the size of many of the figures, was normal that important amounts of mud were imprisoned inside the bronze, as it happened both in the case of soldiers of Riace, which has allowed to the investigators their analysis to be able to determine with major or minor exactitude their origin. Once secured the bronze piece concientiously was reviewed it, to adjust, with the maximum fidelity, to which the artist had shaped in the first mud sculpture. In this work the water throughs were cut reviewed the flaws that could have arisen during the smelting. Also the holes lazy by the water throughs knit, and the pieces were united that formed the total work with a thread of the same used alloy. After this, the work was smoothed by means of a species of sandpapering of the surface, polished and polished by rubbed finísimo, until the pore of the bronze was completely unified. Later it was come you slide to give them, in order to color the metal.
In the case of bronzes of Riace, for example, the two figures are open under the feet, so that when being raised the figures these holes were hidden. The restauradores found inside works around a quintal of the original mud.
Besides Bronze, in the manufacture of the sculptures was used other metals: Silver for the teeth of the statue To, and for the eyelashes of both sculptures, Ivory for the river basin of the eyes and Cobre in the lips and the nipples
The right arm of statue B and the left forearm on which it went hooked the shield had realized in a fusion different from the one from the rest of the statue. They were welded at a later time replacing the original arms, either to correct some suffered damage when estatia or was exposed or to modify the position of the arms in order to adapt the statue for a use different from the initial for which it had been conceived.
the professor Enrico Paribeni thinks that they could represent Áyax both that appears in the Iliad : Áyax Great, son of Telamón, king of Salamina, and Áyax the Minor, son of Oileo . In the Iliad one describes to Áyax great like a soldier of great stature and colossal force. Áyax the minor, son of Oileo, king of Lócride, was one of the aqueos that were within Trojan horse . According to Homero, these two soldiers fought together in War of Troy, at least until first he drove crazy because of a misunderstanding and the life took off.
Pausanias, a Greek writer of Century II, and author of a description of old Greece, makes reference in his work to several sculptural groups between which she has been to identify these statues:
- In ágora of Argus mentions a monument to the seven against Tebas . This sculpture consisted of fifteen figures, being able to be the two of them corresponding ones to bronzes of Riace. This thesis aims to identify to the statue To with Tideo, the hero etolio, and to statue B with Anfiarao, soldier prophet who predicted his own death under the walls of the city of Tebas . Tideo would be work of a called sculptor Agéladas, original of Argus, and who worked in the sanctuary of Delphi in second half of the V  century; a. The archeologist Geòrghios Dontàs has identified to the author of Anfiarao with the figure of Alcámenes, original of Lemnos and attractive with the athenian citizenship by virtue of his he was worth artistic.
- In Delphi, describes to a group given to Fidias that commemorated Batalla de Maratón and that was made up of Athenian, Apolo, Milcíades and other athenian heroes. The position of the two sculptures, shutdowns, supported in the right leg while the left rests a little advanced and slightly flexionada makes remember to the work Apolo de Karsel, that assumes copy of original of Fidias, reason why is reinforced the hypothesis that somewhat these two bronzes would be work of Fidias
- In Olimpia, describes a group of statues that represented Greek heroes of the war of Troy. The group was given Onatas, a sculptor of Egina . Also east group like alternative hypothesis of the identification of bronzes of Riace has been indicated
In addition, the majority of the works that have arrived until us is not but Roman marble copies, of original in bronze. Some author has indicated of somewhat metaphorical form that a form becomes denaturalized as much when happening from a matter to another one (bronze to marble) as a poetic work when it is translated to another language. Positions that in the metal do not offer any problem of balance for the statue, or which they are possible to be solved by means of the addition of internal counterbalances, to the being transferred to the stone do that the addition becomes necessary of different supports, translated in way of containers, trunks of tree or affairs, back-to-back to the figure with major or minor fortune. The different historical events caused that the great majority of those statues was fused to take advantage of the metal (in the gunmaking for example), and thus, the examples of sculptures in the noble metal are escasísimos.
It is for that reason that the finding of the pair of Riace supposed everything an event, and that both " guerreros" they would enter to comprise of that handful of original examples, between which it is possible to emphasize, without a doubt the magnificent Auriga de Delphi, or the Poseidón of the Museum of Athens. These little but most valuable examples allow us to enter us in the direct study of the Greek sculpture as they were devised by his authors, without the mediation forced by their transfer to the marble.
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