Henry Lie, director of the Strauss centre for conservation and technical studies at Harvard University saw the statue on 167th and 18th October 2003 (Benett 2013, p. 55-6). His report is the first to be cited by Bennett. He seems to have taken no samples, his description is eyes-only. Most of it concerns technical details, of note here only: "The patina is consistent with long-term burial". He is not quoted here though as stating that it has been cleaned, how it was cleaned. Nothing about joining a fragmented object, gap-filling and restoration. It seems the results were presented in a letter "to Michael Benett October 18th 2003" now in the CMA curatorial files.
An odd episode is then reported, but no context given:
On June 9th 2004, Henry Lie wrote an addendum to this report. In it he clarified the relationship between the bronze statue and the current base.This is a bit strange, because no mention is made of him travelling from Harvard to Cleveland to carry out any further examination, so this is based on memory and notes made over 7 months earlier. What is the context of this addendum? The significance drawn from what Lie wrote is reported by Steven Litt in his A god of myth cloaked in mystery:
"It clearly is not a fake," said Henry Lie, director of the Straus Center for Conservation at the Harvard University Art Museums. Lie (pronounced Lee) provided the crucial analysis that the sculpture had been joined to its base once and only once, and that corrosion atop the solder is at least 100 years old.Let us look at what Bennet presents as Lie's June 9th report (also it seems supplied as a letter addressed to Bennett):
Intact corrosion products on the top surfaces of the base [has anyone recorded what is underneath it? PMB] indicate a clear association with the Apollo cast. The corrosion products conform to the incised lines drawn (sic) in the bronze at the feet locations: they have grown over these incised lines and over the lead residue associated with the joins [...] there is evidence of only one set of corrosion markings related to the figure's feet, indicating that this attachment was the only attachment in the history of this base. The corrosion products [where? PMB] are consistent with surfaces exposed for time periods of at least 100 years and they do not appear to have been disturbed following the separation of sculpture and baseWhat this seems to be saying is not actually specifically stated anywhere else in the volume. In 2004 the base plate was not attached to the statue's feet by the original solder. There is absolutely no reference anywhere in this "exhaustive" and "rigorous" presentation of how the statue is currently attached to that base plate and how it is prevented from falling over. Is there a stainless steel rod involved, epoxy glue, or what?
This why he feels stating that the corrosion products on the base plate "indicate a clear association with the Apollo cast". Apart from that bald statement which I presume we are to accept on the authority of the writer, there is no description here given of the physical and chemical properties of those two groups of corrosion products. This is important, because scrutiny of the photos - though hampered by the "artistically mysterious" lighting employed in some shots, suggests (page five for example) that the base has in fact corrosion products on it of completely different texture and colour from those on the adjacent areas of the statue. From these photos one might even suggest that the smooth green of the base plate suggests it has been artificially patinated, while the feet and legs show the effects of mechanical cleaning and smoothing of 'dug-up' patina. I do not see from the photos how these two can be compared - and this book is supposed to be providing the documentation of the proofs we are supposed to accept. At the very least we need close-up photos of these patina, descriptions of their nature, both physical and chemical. A bald statement that they are "similar" in an appeal-to-authority letter which is locked away in some filing cabinet in Ohio is not scientific documentation. Is it?
Anyhow, let us pass over that for the sake of the discussion. What is all this about the corrosion products conforming "to the incised lines drawn in the bronze at the feet locations: they have grown over these incised lines and over the lead residue associated with the joins"? The photos only show one such line, which seems to be chased rather than merely scribed. Nowhere is it explained what it is for. Presumably it is associated with the placing of a metal rod which runs unp inside the right leg - it would be helpful if in his description Bennett had said something of this nature (without which the description of this object in this book is incomplete). Nowhere is it actually explained how those who have examined this object would see that solder being applied to such a large object. This "lead residue" outside the chased lines (I presume its the greyish 'puddles' that is referered to here), where does it come from?
What he's saying is that on the loose plate, there are traces on the upper surface which correspond to where the feet would be attached. That is not by any means the same as saying that the plate is attached to the feet and has not been shifted in a hundred years. Absolutely no documentation is provided by the Lie reports as presented by Bennet that there is any trace of the feet having been detached from the plate. In fact a detailed characterisation of the soldered joints is simply omitted from both description and technical analysis. What kind of documentation is that?
But then look at the bottom right corner of the photo on page 4. Is there not the trace of one of the toes beyond where the toe is currently placed on the plate? Why, when Dr Lie says "there is evidence of only one set of corrosion markings related to the figure's feet"? There is as far as I can see no real significance in the statement that the corrosion products "do not appear to have been disturbed following the separation of sculpture and base". Dr Lie says "this attachment was the only attachment in the history of this base" without (in the way his research is presented by Bennett 2013) actually showing in any way that this now-loose plate was ever attached to the feet before the restoration.
And, for goodness sake, what are we to make of the next bit? "The corrosion products [where? PMB] are consistent with surfaces exposed for time periods of at least 100 years". Did he really write that, or is he being misquoted here (for example by dropping a whole series of caveats)? The trouble is that it is impossible to evaluate that statement without knowing on the basis of what assumptions it was made. Also we are totally missing any kind of description of those corrosion products (or even which ones he's talking about). The chemistry and form of corrosion products are a function of a number of factors, how can one look at an object from an unknown curation environment and say how long it took for it to get in that state? What is it that is so characteristic of a "hundred year old" corrosion layer in a rural setting in the hinterland of Dresden? And what if it had not stood in a garden near Dresden?
It is a fallacy to say that Lie's report (as we have it here at least) supports the CMA "Hypothesis A" about where the statue was, because Dr Lie's assessment of the characteristics of the corrosion surely relies on an assumption about where it was during that "100 years".
I think we are at a disadvantage in assessing the value of what Lie's research showed for the simple reason that we do not have his actual report, just some kind of brief summary of a letter by an art-historian, and the original instead of being published as documentation of this object is locked away in a filing cabinet in an office somewhere in Ohio. Cleveland, please publish your evidence.