Stone Sculpture


Croatian Conservation Institute began in 2012 with the documenting, investigating and conservation trials on the stone sculpture in the interior of the presbytery and the main apse of St. James’s Cathedral in Šibenik. A major architectural achievement of the 15th and 16th century in Croatia, the Cathedral of Šibenik has won its global recognition in 2000, when it was entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Croatian Conservation Institute has since 2011 been involved in the project of researching the synchrotron-based techniques for the protection of stone monuments with calcium oxalate. The research is aimed at optimizing the treatment of stone with ammonium oxalate in order to create a protective layer of calcium oxalate in a way that is more economically acceptable than is the application of pulp over large stone surfaces. The results of this research were used for the final protection of stone in the last phase of conservation work on the Peristyle of the Diocletian’s Palace in Split..


The overall conservation and presentation of the Peristyle is one of the largest conservation programmes in Croatia. The project, initiated in 2003, with completion planned for 2012, has been divided into several phases encompassing all segments of the restoration of the most important element of the historical centre of Split, ranging from rehabilitation of the foundations and the structure, and the cleaning and conservation of stone, plaster and other materials, to the final presentation of this multi-layered monument. In addition to the conservation itself and the new insights gained by the researchers and the general public, the project is also significant because of the practical application of a new, scientific approach to conservation. Thus, Croatia has joined the latest trends in the conservation of stone.


Seventeen Roman marble sculptures discovered some fifteen years ago in the village of Vid, near Metković, are among the greatest achievements of Roman sculpture, and they have invaluable significance for Croatian cultural heritage. The sculptures, representing the Roman imperial family, members of the aristocracy and deities, have been dated to the 1st and 2nd centuries, and they are believed to have originally been elements of the Augusteum of Narona.


The Plague Column – a votive monument to the Holy Trinity dating from 1749 – is a well-known symbol of Požega, and the focal point of the town plan. The column of the Holy Trinity is one of the few preserved monuments in Slavonia dating from the period. As such, it has been recognized as an important specimen of Baroque sculpture in Croatia, and it has been restored several times since the 19th c. In spite of this, the stone the monument was made of had suffered mechanical and structural damage through the centuries, and, due to adverse atmospheric conditions, it was impossible to preserve it in the open. For this reason, a facsimile has been made and placed in the square, while the original has been subjected to conservation treatment and then stored under controlled microclimate conditions.


The Dubrovnik church of St. Blaise, a work by the Venetian sculptor and builder Marino Gropelli, is a superb monument of Baroque architecture and is testimony to the great renovation of the town in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The scars that time has left on this famous symbol of the town have heralded the necessity to carry out a comprehensive renovation programme, starting from the most jeopardized sculptural and architectural elements of the church, and compilation of comprehensive documentation.

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