EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE TO WORKS OF ART IN THE FRIULI REGION OF ITALY
Paul M. Schwartzbaum, Constance S. Silver, & Carol A. Grissom
4 SURVEY OF EARTHQUAKE-DISPLACED OBJECTS
Immediately after the first earthquake, emergency depositories were established for displaced objects, mostly polychromed wooden sculptures and paintings on canvas. The largest depository (c. 1500 objects) is located in the church of San Francesco in Udine, a city relatively undamaged by the earthquakes. Many of the objects suffered direct damage from the tremors, e.g., tears, broken extremities, abrasion of relief areas, and imbedded rubble. Many were indirectly damaged from exposure to the elements after the earthquake. Moreover, the conditions in the church have contributed to the degradation of the objects: the relative humidity in the church is constant but extremely high (80–90%), the depository has no facilities for fumigation, and it is overcrowded. Although in the first months following the earthquake some “first aid” measures were initiated, no comprehensive examination and survey of the objects was conducted.
Therefore, a survey of the objects in the depository was carried out during the first quarter of 1977 under the auspices of FRIAM.16 Its purpose was to identify objects actively deteriorating and to classify them on the basis of urgency of treatment and transportability. Because of limited time, the survey was restricted to the most severely damaged category of objects: the polychromed wooden sculptures. For the objects requiring major treatment (174), brief examination forms were filled out, accompanied by photographs; for the minimally damaged sculptures or less important pieces (254), brief notes were made.