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L'amore, l'arte e la grazia

Raffaello: la Madonna del Cardellino restaurata

Marco Ciatti, Antonio Natali

16,00 €

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edited by Marco Ciatti and Antonio Natali
in collaboration with Patrizia Riitano

exhibition catalogue: Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 23 November 2008-1 March 2009

200x225 mm; 96 pp. 67 colour illustrations

978-88-7461-125-6 Italian

In 1547 it rained for months on end in Florence and the flooding of the Arno in August was followed by the landslide of the Costa dei Magnoli in November. One of the structures that was ruined was the Palazzo Nasi, which housed the splendid Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist, painted by Raphael for Lorenzo Nasi’s wedding 40 years earlier. The work was in pieces when it was retrieved from the mud and rubble, but the family was so attached to it that they decided to salvage it. The task was entrusted to a Florentine painter whom Antonio Natali has identified as Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, a contemporary and close friend of the master from Urbino. Five centuries after it was painted, the dazzling beauty of the forms and colours of the Madonna of the Goldfinch—as the painting is better known—has been restored through a radical intervention using the very latest diagnostic and restoration techniques. An essay by Antonio Natali introduces the reader to Raphael’s masterpiece and its history, whereas the work done on the painting by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure is presented by Marco Ciatti and narrated by the restorer, Patrizia Riitano. There are also numerous illustrations of the most delicate phases, i.e. in-depth diagnostic work, the cautious cleaning operations, and the painstaking and sensitive pictorial reintegration of the lacunae. In the exhibition, the painting is displayed alongside just a “few but eloquent coeval works”. Raphael’s La Gravida (Portrait of a Pregnant Woman) and The Nun, attributed to Ridolfo and accompanied by the decorated panel that served as its ‘cover’, evoke the affinity between the two artists and illustrate Raphael’s impact on Florentine art. Indeed, Girolamo della Robbia’s glazed terracotta sculpture reproducing La Belle Jardinière (now at the Louvre) demonstrates that the master’s influence extended beyond the genre of portraiture.