Michelangelo restoration exceeds expectations

The crowdfunded project nears end

Editorial Staff
November 16, 2018 - 16:17

In the Name of Michelangelo, the fundraising campaign launched in September 2017, is about to come to a successful end. The Opera di Santa Croce, the church’s governing body, was seeking funds to restore Michelangelo’s tomb and the Buonarroti family altarpiece inside Santa Croce, and its original 100,000 euro was exceeded in almost no time at all. Following an earlier cleaning for the monumental tomb, work is about to finish on the altarpiece. President of the Opera, Irene Sanesi, presented a preview of the restoration so far on November 16, along with the restorer, Maria Teresa Castellano, and Paola Vojnovic, fundraising for Santa Croce.


Before the restoration
Ph. Opera di Santa Croce


“One hundred and twenty-seven donors from 13 different countries mobilized to help Michelangelo,” said Sanesi. “The restoration of the Buonarroti altarpiece and the artist’s tomb, both by Giorgio Vasari, were made possible thanks to In the Name of Michelangelo, which exceeded all expectations.”


After the restoration
Ph. Opera di Santa Croce


Vasari was commissioned to paint the altarpiece, depicting Christ Meeting Veronica on the Way to Calvary, in 1572 by Cosimo I de’ Medici. Damage to the lower half of the painting during the 1966 flood and a heavy patina that had developed over the centuries meant that the painting was in a bad state when the campaign was lost. But thanks to this much-needed restoration, not only was the work given a new life, but unexpected elements of the painting came to light, such as the faces of Michelangelo and Rosso Fiorentino being discovered in the likenesses of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, respectively. The Opera made note of the link between artist’s tomb and his family’s altarpiece, namely in the portraits of Michelangelo in the painting and in the bust sculpted by Daniele da Volterra, both made in the same period.


The restoration will be presented to the city on Saturday, November 24 at 6pm.

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