After finishing finals and Archaeological Field School in May, I packed my bags and headed to Italy for a week as the first leg of my summer experience. Jess Walthew, a rising 3rd year, and I had been selected to work on a project at the Villa La Pietra in Florence. The Villa with its beautiful grounds and art collection had been bequeathed to NYU in 1994 by Sir Harold Acton. The Acton collection contains over 5,000 objects ranging early Italian painting to Chinese ceramics to Baroque furniture.
Every year the Conservation Center sends students to work on special projects at the Villa. We worked on a sculpture consolidation project with Jack Soultanian. During a previous condition assessment of the Acton sculptures, many objects had flaking paint and/or gilding layers and were identified for treatment. Our first objects were a pair of Blackamores that were badly flaking. We gently set down the lifting gilding and paint layers. Later, we also worked on a polychrome sitting Buddha.
In the evenings, Jess and I had fun exploring Florence. We went to museums, churches, historic neighborhoods, and the famous Zecchi art store. And of course, we ate delicious Italian food and ample gelatos.
After a wonderful week in Florence, Jess and I gathered our bags set off for Turkey. We would send the next ten weeks working at the Sardis excavation. Read my “Summer at Sardis” post to learn more about our time in Turkey!