Three statues – Adam Eve Mars

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Three marble sculptures by Rizzo
The restored statues in Palazzo Ducale
3 statue

The three full-height marble sculptures of the ancestors Adam and Eve and Mars, dating back to the second half of the fifteenth century, today show all their splendor in the Sala dello Scrutinio. In the niches in the courtyard of Palazzo Ducale that hosted them for centuries there are bronze copies. The statues had an adventurous life, like their author Antonio Rizzo, perhaps the best sculptor of that century.

The three statues, masterpieces of Venetian Renaissance art, have been outdoors for centuries. In the 18th and 19th centuries restoration works were recorded and they were subject to cleaning, remaking of missing pieces and grouting.

Adam, Eve and Mars (also called the Warrior) were removed the first time in 1917. Since 1915 Italy has been at war and the statues are covered with sandbags, such as the Scala dei Giganti, but after Caporetto the works of the most important art of Venice are quickly taken away from the city, the three statues went to Pisa. They returned to the lagoon two years later in 1919 in their original positions.

Given their suboptimal conditions, the first to be turned into bronze is Eve. In 1920 the copy took its place, the original went indoors in the Palazzo. In 1940 another war: Adam and Mars ended up in an armored room on the ground floor. In 1947 the director of that time searched for about 300 kg of bronze for the copy of Adam, and asked the Navy for it. The bronze of the cannons at least 50 years old is the right one for the statue, he managed to obtain it in 1953, the copy went to the Foscari facade and Adam reunited with Eve. They were joined shortly afterwards by Mars, which was also replaced by a bronze copy. In the following years they were exhibited together in various rooms in the Palazzo, from the 1980s in the Liagò.

In the Liagò of Palazzo Ducale the three statues of Antonio Rizzo have been patiently restored since 2015, in a space divided by the public by a transparent wall. After analysis with innovative laser techniques, the gray and black patina accumulated over the centuries was removed. The whole process was carried out by the restorer Jonathan Hoyte with the technical direction of a scientific committee. After four years of delicate restoration, the three fifteenth-century statues of the great artist Antonio Rizzo are exceptionally exhibited in the Sala dello Scrutinio of Palazzo Ducale.


Location: Palazzo Ducale, Venice

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