Today is the 45th anniversary of the discovery of the Riace Bronze Warriors. I visited this museum with a dear friend who was thoroughly in awe by what she saw and has a great appreciation for the workmanship that went into sculpting bronze statues of this magnitude. As a college student, she was a math major, but also took as many sculpture classes as she could fit into her schedule. She fell in love with sculpture and was so very fortunate to have had a foundry at her college for the studio art program. She has worked with bronze and has a very clear understanding of the intricate process behind the making of these statues.
Here is her account of the visit:
THE RIACE BRONZES
This past May I took an exciting road trip through southern Italy. One of the highlights was a visit to Reggio Calabria (the toe of the boot) to see the Riace Bronzes at Nuovo Museo Archeologico Nazionale. They are truly magnificent! On August 16th, 1972, the Riace Bronzes were discovered on a recreational scuba dive by Stefano Mariottini in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Riace, Italy. It is believed these bronze masterpieces laid at the bottom of the sea for an estimated 2000 years. After about two years of restoration, revealing the marvelous skill and craftsmanship that went into making them, they were beautifully brought back to their former glory. These statues are displayed in a controlled environment at the museum. Every person who enters the viewing room where the statues are displayed must first enter an airlock, where a high-tech cleansing process takes place before entering the room where these great statues are displayed. It’s truly quite an interesting process but once you actually get up close to these well-respected works of art, you’ll appreciate all the precautions.
The Riace Bronzes or Warriors are referred to as Statue A and Statue B; they are 6 1/2 and almost 6 3/4 feet tall, respectively. I was mesmerized by these two breathtakingly impressive Bronzes. It’s amazing to think that these statues were crafted by Greek sculptors 2500 years ago.
Riace Bronze (Statue A) Riace Bronze (Statue B)