Taft Receives Grant for Exploration of Rome Memorial Site
Associate Professor Stan Taft, art, is the recipient of a seed grant from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. With the grant, Taft will continue work on a project about a monument in Rome commemorating the 19th century unification of Italy under the leadership of Guiseppe Garibaldi.
"At the center of a park on the Janiculum hill stands a monumental 25-meter-high equestrian bronze sculpture of Garibaldi," says Taft. "Lining the three streets leading into the park are 83 portrait busts of his supporters."
Taft's project, Risorgimento: The Memorial Portrait Busts of Garibaldi’s Supporters on the Janiculum, focuses on the cycles of deterioration and restoration and subsequent deterioration of the busts.
"In January of 2011 I was surprised to witness the preparatory cleaning and restoring," says Taft. "Sitting behind fencing and caution tape, wrapped in plastic, being treated by the conservators, the busts took on a much more animated character than I had observed in the past."
Taft then photographed the busts over several weeks in various stages of restoration, times of day, in groups, and in the context of the park. In order to isolate the figure from its surroundings, Taft edited contextual information by over-painting with Flashe, a vinyl paint similar to acrylic.
Taft's Einaudi seed grant will fund the production of an artist book and the preparation of exhibitions of the work.