UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 01 Fall 14 Library
Photo: William Wylie
Studio Art

Restoration of Rotunda Capitals

The story of the Rotunda restoration spans centuries as well as continents. Many will remember the black draping around the capitals on the building’s famed columns. The fabric protected the disintegrated marble which had been installed a little over a century after the 1895 fire. This time around, the University is returning to its more solid roots by working with craftsmen from the Pedrini Sculpture Studio in Carrara, Italy, where the original marble came from. Representatives from the studio employed a high-tech approach to recreating the ageless stone structures during a visit to Grounds last fall, examining restored remnants of the original capitals and making threedimensional laser scans to inform their efforts to recreate the original work.

Thanks to William Wylie of the Studio Art Department, the University will have a vibrant record of this fascinating effort. He is recording the entire process, from the quarries to the sculptor studios, using a variety of mediums including his signature large-format fine art photographs, a documentary film and perhaps even a book. “This is a great opportunity to record history in the re-making, and in the process, to tell a fascinating story that combines state-of-the-art technology and timeless craftsmanship,” Wylie said. “I think the outcomes of this work will provide valuable tools for education, archival and development purposes at the University as well as resulting in pieces that become part of my own body of work on Carrara.”

(Photo: William Wylie)
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