This week the restoration and cleaning works of the monument to General Martínez Campos, work of Mariano Benlliure, located in the Retiro Park and declared a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) in 2013, have been completed. splendor at the monument It began last July and required an investment of 31,269 euros. The works coincided with the 75th anniversary of the death of Benlliure (1862-1946), which the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports celebrated throughout this year with an extensive program of cultural activities.
The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, with the technical advice of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain (IPCE), under the Ministry of Culture and Sports, carried out the restoration of the monument which was carried out by conservators-restorers specialized in stony and metallic materials.
The monument to Captain General Arsenio Martínez de Campos y Antón (Segovia, 1831- Zarauz, 1900), promoted by the Marquis of Cabriñana and financed by public subscription, was inaugurated on January 28, 1907 in the place where the pond called de los Cisnes in Retiro Park, although the plaza surrounding it was remodeled and embellished after the Civil War, replacing the metal balustrade and landscaping surrounding it with a sheet of water on which stands today the monument.
The order to Benlliure was carried out by the announcement of a public competition of which the sculptor was the winner. The work focuses attention on the bronze figure of the general, mounted on a horse, and on a promontory, with nothing detracting from the sculpture.
The pedestal, rectangular in shape and slightly stepped, ends with a podium where a stone bas-relief depicts an episode from the Battle of Castillejos, in which Martínez Campos took part.
restoration and cleaning
The state of preservation of the bronze sculpture was adequate, although the patina was somewhat unstable and covered with a film of dirt and deposits of plant remains and bird nesting. Likewise, it suffered from the typical pathologies of metal structures exposed to bad weather. As for the limestone and marble plinth, its state of conservation was also linked to the location of the monument and its exposure to environmental agents, as well as to actions resulting from previous interventions.
The work consisted in developing cleanings and treatments based on the results obtained in the laboratory and following the indications indicated by the IPCE. The bronze was dry cleaned to remove large amounts of pigeon detritus, it was degreased and cleaned, areas with openings or holes were sealed, oxides were cleaned and inhibited, and oxides were removed. been applied several layers of protection and water repellents.
A manual dry cleaning was carried out on the stone, removing the mortar from previous interventions, using natural lime mortar, sealing cracks and cracks, collecting the edges of uplifts and displacements and applying a layer protective waterproofing.
On the occasion of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the death of Mariano Benlliure, the town hall promotes an extensive program of cleaning and restoration of the monuments belonging to the municipality whose paternity corresponds – in whole or in part – to this sculptor, such as as those dedicated to Lieutenant Ruiz, located in the Plaza del Rey, to Goya (1902) and María Cristina de Borbón–Dos Sicilias (1889 – 1893), both located near the Prado Museum, and the equestrian statue of Alfonso XII (1901 – 1909) and the monuments to the Republic of Cuba (1930 – 1952) and to the journalist Miguel Moya (1927), located in Retiro Park.