Restoration has recently been completed on The Coronation of the Virgin, the altarpiece created by Giovanni Maria Butteri, which is located in the sacristy at the Basilica di Santo Spirito. The works were carried out under the supervision of the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Metropolitan City of Florence and the Provinces of Pistoia and Prato, and carried out by the L’Officina di Restauro.
Before the restoration, there were concerns about the wooden support of the panel and signs of insect infestation. The insect problem was tackled before restoration work could begin and tests were then carried out to gauge conservation problems and to document the damages. This opportunity was also used to examine the artwork’s painting techniques. Tests were done to find the best method for cleaning the painting, which then allowed for the careful removal of smoke deposits and thereby improved the colours of the painting. The cracks on the wooden support were restored, levelled out, and treated with chemicals to prevent woodworm.
The restoration project was made possible thanks to the support of Friends of Florence and a generous donation from William and Jeanne Bice. This comes after a number of projects carried out by Friends of Florence in Santo Spirito, and further cements the US non-profit association’s commitment to the basilica. Other projects include the restoration of the Pala Nerli by Filippino Lippi and the Annunciation by Pietro del Donzello. Friends of Florence also supported the relocation of a wooden crucifix by Michelangelo in the centre of the sacristy, and the completion of restorations on The Coronation of the Virgin is occurring alongside celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the rediscovery of Michelangelo’s work.