After more than a decade of intense archaeological and restoration efforts, the ancient bronze statue of Apoxyomenos will ultimately stand where it first belonged, in a Losinj museum. Workers raised the statue from the seabed near the Losinj area in 1999. The priceless figure is one of the finest examples of ancient Greek sculpture.
Belgian tourist Rene Wouters discovered the magnificent 190cm sculpture of a young athlete under the sea. He was diving with friends and spotted it lying between rocks at a depth of 45m. Wouters decided to report his findings to the authorities.
The ministry of culture co-ordinated raising the statue to the surface, restoring it and eventually exhibiting it to the public. Experts from the ministry of culture and Zadar Archaeological Museum, special police officers and professional divers all participated in raising Apoxyomenos from the sea in April 1999.
A team of experts in Zagreb reported on its condition. According to the Croatian Conservation Institute (Hrvatski restauratorski zavod), "the front of the statue was [protected from the elements by] a thick layer of encrustation ... But the rear of the statue, which had lain in the sand, was much more seriously corroded."
Restorers took seven years to repair the statue, the head and body of which had come apart over the centuries. The torso itself had numerous cracks. Workmen installed an internal support system so the statue can stand upright.
There are eight less complete versions of this statue around the world, the most famous of them in Vienna, Florence, Castel Gandolfo and Fort Worth, Texas. Scholars date the Croatian Apoxyomenos to the 2nd century BC and believe it fell off or was jettisoned from a Roman ship. The statue is wrapping up a tour of Croatian museums before its permanent installation in the Losinj museum.
We first mentioned this back in 2003 (scroll down) referencing an item in the Art Newspaper which, alas, is no longer available ... the SET piece includes a rather dissatisfying photo ... the photo looks like this one and I'm not sure whether it's the 'newly restored' statue or not ... (so I'm not sure wh.ether this is news or not ... slow news day)