Artworks in the hospital ward

Added 2020-03-26 in by Kamil Kusztal

Artworks in the hospital - The history of an Italian specialist hospital in which damaged art works are treated.


Artworks are a huge treasure of every nation, but also of our entire civilization. Unfortunately, during violent crises they are very vulnerable to destruction and loss. In Poland, during World War II, around 2,800 paintings of famous European painting schools, 11,000 paintings by Polish painters, 1,400 valuable sculptures and many others were stolen. Currently, works are successively recovered and restored to the country, but what about natural disasters in which artworks need immediate rescue? Italians had to face this problem.

From August 24 to October 30, 2016, a wave of earthquakes passed through Italy, in which cities such as Amatrice, Visso and Nursia suffered huge losses. Over 300 people were killed and the churches, cathedrals and museums that were home to many monuments were destroyed. Fortunately, a nearby clinic was established in the nearby city of Spoleto (40 km from Nursia), which began to receive artworks that needed specialist help.

Italian artworks have their own field hospital

The warehouse for damaged artworks in Spoleto was created in 2008, but for a long time it was empty. However, after the 2016 catastrophe, over 5000 "sick" artworks from e.g. Francis, Antoni or Benedict from Nursia came to the clinic. It should be mentioned that many of these works were saved with the involvement of the fire brigade, which helped save them from gradually collapsing buildings. Among them are many torn or moisture-affected paintings, damaged by falling stones, sculptures or crushed pieces of frescoes. The works are subjected to analysis and an attempt to restore and reconstruct (e.g. based on photographs), which can last for years.

Artworks on the operating tables of the best artistic surgeons

Fortunately, the works are in the hands of professionals, and some of them have already managed to return to their former form. Such patients have already been to exhibitions, and art lovers can admire them again. What manages to be rescued is only a small part of the whole work, most of which, unfortunately, was lost. However, great hope is given by observing with what precision art conservators work on the surviving specimens. Their dedication can certainly be compared to the dedication of a doctor caring for their human patients. We can see what a warehouse looks like and the work of conservators, as well as what works of art are subjected to therapy, by viewing a short document, which can be found in this legal version: I heartily recommend!

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