Aphrodite of Ephesus
Under the title VITRINE EXTRA, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is launching a new presentation format in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. At regular intervals, different artefacts between art and science – from simple shards to precious objects – will temporarily become part of the permanent exhibition. They invite us to understand archaeology, to see the past in a new way, to experience and rethink ancient life and values.
The first issue of the new format presents Aphrodite of Ephesus. This torso of a Roman marble statue of the goddess Aphrodite was found in the great theatre of Ephesus (Turkey). The Ephesian sculpture is made of white, coarse grain marble from Aphrodisias (Turkey). It was discovered during the early years of the Austrian excavations at Ephesus and sent to Vienna over a century ago as a gift from the Sultan to Emperor Franz Joseph I.
History of the Restoration
Already after the donation, more than 100 years ago, the statue was restored, with missing parts replaced in plaster and iron dowels. Cracks and crusts excerting tension on the surrounding marble structure, the poor condition of the old additions and the corrosion of the iron dowels required comprehensive restoration and conservation of this statue.
A first step was to record the condition of the surface and determine the materials and damage patterns. The surface was cleaned with a laser, the cracks were consolidated with adhesive injections. The plaster additions made 100 years ago were formally and sculpturally very sophisticated, but removal was unavoidable due to the numerous cracks.
A photogrammetric 3D scan was used to record both the old additions and the original surfaces underneath, and a 3D print of the right breast/shoulder section was produced from this. The print served as a template for the new additions made of acrylic resin-bonded marble sand mortar.