Turbanned figure set into a wall, Fondamenta dei Mori

About the project

The restoration of one of four turbaned figures set in and around the Campo dei Mori was undertaken as a gesture of affection for, and to honour the memory of, the founder of Venice in Peril, Sir Ashley Clarke, who died in 1994.

This statue, the only one that remained unrestored at the time, depicts a merchant named Alfani. It is set into the façade of a 15th-century house in which Tintoretto later lived. 

Analysis of the sculpture revealed that the pedestal was a local 15th-century version of a Roman altar while the turban was refashioned out of a capital from the top of a lost column.

The conservation approach was to clean and consolidate the figure. No attempt was made to straighten the crooked sides of the niche or to remove completely the remains of pigment applied by past generations, as these were thought to be part of the history of the figure.

Project location

In brief

  • Three brothers fleeing from conflict in the Peloponnese – settled here in Cannaregio in the 12th century as merchants of spices and silks. The Peloponnese was known at that time as Morea, hence the Campo dei Mori.
  • They lived and traded from premises within the urban block bounded by the Fondamenta Mori and the Fondamenta Gasparo Contarini. The stone figures are reminders of how Venice’s ‘islands’ were occupied by the warehouses and palaces of its merchant classes.
  • Their palace shown here has a carved panel showing a pack camel on its facade.

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