After a gap of 22 years between sculpture “spa treatments,” a life-size bronze statue of a young David, the Biblical king of Israel, was removed Tuesday from its ocean-view location high atop an ornate marble fountain on the grounds of Hearst Castle.
The copper-alloy statue, a 1920s copy of an original by early Renaissance Italian sculptor Donatello, is headed for Los Angeles and a yearlong $17,790 restoration and repair by conservator Erik Risser. That cost, and expenses for work performed by State Park employees, will be paid out of State Park conservation funds, according to Hearst Castle museum director Hoyt Fields.
The 64.25-inch-tall statue’s lower sections have several large cracks, some of which have begun to open up and develop what Fields called “bronze disease.”
Risser wrote in his condition report that the “surface condition is of the greatest concern,” and that previous measures taken to preserve the treasure “have eventually been overwhelmed with the accumulation of time” and the widely varying weather conditions at the Castle’s hilltop site.
In the meantime, he said, conservators also will dismantle David’s tall fountain base, which sits near the terrace of Casa Del Sol, one of the Castle’s three guesthouses.