U.S. coin designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens is known for far more than just his coins. One of America's greatest sculptors, his works can be found in cities and museums nationwide. This article notes that one of his most famous works in undergoing restoration.
A once-golden statue of the deity Diana that formerly stood as the tallest point in New York will be refurbished by its current owners at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The 13-foot-tall sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens depicts the hunting goddess poised to shoot an arrow. Conservationists are using a $200,000 private grant to regild the now faded artwork with 180 square feet of gold leaf.
"Diana is widely recognized as one of the great icons of our collection, but most people do not realize that the sculpture's gray-green surfaces once gleamed in gold," museum director and CEO Timothy Rub said in a statement.
The statue was first installed in 1893 as a weather vane atop the original Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Standing on a 300-foot-high tower and fitted with "billowing drapery" to catch the wind, Diana became the highest point in the city, according to museum records. It was also the area's first statue to be lit at night by electricity.
After the entertainment complex was torn down in 1925, Diana was placed into storage. The Philadelphia museum acquired the statue seven years later; since then, she has stood at the top of a staircase in the museum's grand entrance hall.
The restoration project announced Thursday is expected to take about four months.
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Once-golden statue that stood atop NYC landmark will be regilded by art museum in Philadelphia
Wayne Homren, Editor
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