At 1:04am on May 27, 1993, an explosion ripped through the heart of Florence, killing five and maiming the city’s art and architecture. Twenty-five years after the via dei Georgofili attack, a painting wrecked by the bombing, Bartolomeo Manfredi’s Card Players, has returned to the Uffizi Galleries.
A seemingly impossible restoration was made viable through the Culture Against Terror crowdfunding campaign organized by the Uffizi Galleries, Corriere Fiorentino and Ubi Banca. It took eleven months for restorer Daniela Lippi to reassemble Manfredi’s seventeenth-century artwork as if it were a puzzle with pieces still missing as shown by the darker areas, a pillar of strength amid terror and a message of hope for the young of today.
The restored original is displayed alongside a super-high-definition copy of the Card Players as it was prior to the attack, in addition to a video about the painting and its restoration in San Pier Scheraggio, which resonates the work of the firemen among the ruins of via dei Georgofili, the toppled walls and dismembered paintings.
The original and reproduction will remain on show in the ground-floor Vasari Auditorium until June 3 (8:15am-6:50pm) and is included in the ticket price for the Uffizi, while the video can be seen for free until June 3 (10am-6pm).
The intention is that the painting will re-enter the galleries’ storage until work on the Vasari Corridor is finished, when the artwork will return to the exact place where it was hanging on the night of the bombing.