It found its way into the possession of the Medicis, the ruling family of Florence during the Renaissance, and the original radiant beauty of the painting was further obscured by successive attempts to cover up the damage. So when Opificio delle Pietre Dure, one of Italy’s state-run picture restoration laboratories, was approached about the possibility of restoring the picture to its original splendour, it approached it with great diffidence. “This patient gave us the most shivers and the
most sleepless nights,” Marco Ciatti, head of the paintings department of the lab, told Reuters. “We spent two whole years studying it before deciding whether to go ahead, because with the damage it had suffered in the past – which was clearly visible in the X-rays – a restoration attempt could go wrong.”
In the end they decided to proceed, and the restorer who pulled the short straw was Patrizia Riitano. The painting has been her life for years. “I am just a technician but I probably know this painting almost better than Raphael,” she said. “He looked at it of course, but all these years I have been looking at it through a microscope.” She headed a team of 50 including wood specialists and photography technicians. The restoration team decided that the larger nails holding the picture together should stay, as removing them risked doing more harm. The grime obscuring the picture’s beautifully balanced golds, reds and blues has been meticulously stripped away. Now, Madonna del cardellino, as it is known in Italian, is the centrepiece of a show on the restoration at Florence’s Palazzo Medici, before returning to the Uffizi. Antonio Natali, of the Uffizi, said: “We will celebrate it like the return of our prodigal daughter.”
1 thought on “The Madonna of the Goldfinch, Raphael in 1506, to Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, after a restoration lasting 10 years.”
I think that it is very important and necessary that this outstanding work of art by Raphael has been painstakingly restored to it’s original radiant beauty as well as to it’s place of honor at the Uffizi Gallery. The restoration team had a difficult task to complete, and approached it without hesitation. It’s a shame that it had suffered as much damage as it had, but looking at it now, the viewer would not know it. It was correct and proper that it took at least 10 years to complete the task of restoring the painting, the restoration team had to examine the painting thoroughly (to the naked eye via x-rays) before proceeding to get the grime off,. The beginning the restorative process. It is imperative when restoring any piece of art that the proper team is assembled. You can’t just have any one restoring any piece of art, let alone one of this magnitude and importance.
I appreciate learning more of the history behind the painting that I had not known before and to further learn about the world of the work of the restorers that I had not known previously.
The photos that accompany guide us along with the restoration team and their hard work gives one a better idea of what is actually taking place and how they work.. One almost feels as if they are right there as a part of the team. Brava.