In the ‘Rediscovered Kouros’ the ‘Apollonian Head’ found in the 18th century by Ignazio Paternò Castello Prince of Biscari and kept in the Museum of Castello Ursino is rejoined to the headless torso of an ephebe acquired in 1904 by Paolo Orsi and held in the Regional Archaeological Museum in Syracuse named after him. The Kouros was a Greek statue depicting a standing naked young man representing no individual youth in particular. With its funerary or votive function, it was common in the archaic and classical period, between the 7th and 4th centuries BC. A new work is thus added to the statuary repertoire of Greek Sicily.
The idea was put forward by art critic Vittorio Sgarbi and by the mayor of Catania, and implemented in 2018 thanks to the efforts of Sebastiano Tusa, the former Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage. Together with the Fondazione Sicilia, he appointed Messrs Siqilliya with its restoration. The restored statue was presented for the first time in the Sala della Cavallerizza of Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo. The Kouros restoration project was curated by the late Sebastiano Tusa and aimed to restore its integrity, thus finally settling a long time debate on different assumptions made by the scientific community about whether the two pieces did actually belong to one single statue from the Archaic age.
The petrographic and geochemical investigations conducted by the LapiS (Lapidei Siciliani) Association since 2011 were a key prerequisite for assembling the two finds back together. These investigations confirmed that both pieces were fashioned from the same block of marble, quarried on the Greek island of Paros.
In order to join the two pieces together in a reversible manner, an existing hole at the base of the head – which was severely truncated in the 18th century – was used, and “a very short gap” was filled with a specially designed and prototyped high-strength plastic prosthesis.
Fouling and scaling that were concealing the marble surface at the back and sides of the torso have been removed by thorough cleaning, thus enhancing the marble surface tone for its full appreciation.
Promoted by Regione Sicilia (Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity), the Municipality of Catania (Department of Cultural Activities and Heritage), the Fondazione Sicilia, in collaboration with the Sicilian Lapidary Association (LapiS) and the Regional Centre for Planning and Restoration (CRPR), the exhibition was produced and organised by Civita Sicilia.