Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi 'recovers colours'

Painting back at Uffizi after long restoration

27 March, 17:34

    Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi 'recovers colours' Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi 'recovers colours'

    (By Paul Virgo). - Rome - Leonardo da Vinci's Adoration of the Magi has recovered much of its original colouring after a painstaking restoration. The artwork has returned to Florence's Uffizi Gallery after being taken to the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure institute for restoration in 2011 due to serious deterioration of the surface.

    The painting will be the star of a special show opening on Tuesday after the restoration conducted with the help of the financial support of the Amici degli Uffizi (Friends of the Uffizi) association. The panel was commissioned from the Augustinian Friars for the church of San Donato in Scopeto in 1481. The artist left it unfinished after moving to Milan in 1482, prompting the friars to ask Filippino Lippi to produce another altarpiece on the same subject.

    That work was completed in 1496. Leonardo's painting, the biggest survivor panel of the master at 246 x 243 cm, was housed at the Benci family's properties in Florence for some time before entering the Medici collections. In addition to solving a number of conservation problems and revealing the work's unexpected colours, it also uncovered many enthralling details that will have experts speculating on the painting's iconographical meaning. Alongside Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi, the exhibition also hosts Filippino Lippi's 1496 version, thus highlighting the differences in the two masters' temperaments and their different interpretation of the same theme.

    "A masterpiece that was in danger has been saved," said Uffizi Gallery Director Eike Schmidt at Monday's presentation of the restoration. "In doing so we have brought to light a very rich world that lived within the world and had remained hidden for centuries.

    "Finally we have been able to spy on the mind of Leonardo. "With the intervention the Adoration has gained light, depth and new areas have been discovered that did not come out before the restoration". Experts said that the restoration showed that, in some ways, the Adoration of the Magi also served to experiment with techniques used for other Leonardo works, such as the lost Battle of Anghiari, and the Virgin of the Rocks. "Thanks to the work we have done, detail have emerged that previously were indiscernible and this has enabled us to understand a lot more abnout Leonardo's technique," said Marco Ciatti, the supervisor of the restoration. (ANSAmed).

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