Raphael's Madonna is restored

Raphael. Madonna of the Goldfinch. 1506. Uffizi Gallery, Florence. The image before and after the restoration

Italian experts have finished the restoration of Raphael’s masterpiece Madonna of the Goldfinch (1506). It was seriously harmed while the ruining of Lorenzo Nasi’s house in 1548. The picture will be returned to the exposition of Uffizi Gallery.

Raphael created Madonna of the Goldfinch for the wedding of his friend, an influential Italian merchant Lorenzo Nasi. The artist depicted God’s Mother with John the Baptist giving Jesus a goldfinch which is considered a symbol of crucifixion and violent death.

At the moment of the collapse of the Nasi’s palace the picture was broken in pieces. The merchant’s son Giovannibattista tried to restore it and connected separate 17 fragments with long nails having added three small and one big insert with almost completely renewed painting instead of the lost parts.

In such condition Madonna of the Goldfinch is saved up to now. In the course of time the painting faded and got a yellowish tint. In 1972 and 1983 the picture was examined in X-rays. However experts did not dare to realize the restoration. They were afraid to destroy the fragile work.

A complex restoration work was started only in 1999. In the course of the restoration which took almost 10 years experts managed to fix a wooden basis of the picture and restore its some fragments. “The cleaning lightened up those parts which were absolutely not seen before, – comments the main restorer Patrizia Riitano. – Some details on a background are a discovery for us…I think that now I know the picture better than the artist”.

From November, 23 – March, 1, 2009 Madonna of the Goldfinch which is more known in Italy as Madonna del Cardellino is exhibited at Medici-Riccardi Palace, and then it will be returned to Uffizi Gallery.

Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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