Restorer Filippo Tattini began the project at the height of the pandemic and saw it to fruition just a few months ago under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Celani of the Department of Fine Arts, Archaeology and Landscape for Florence and the provinces of Pistoia and Prato. The Madonna and Child between Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Ursula and the Resurrection of Christ were the two pieces restored.
Both lunettes are positioned in the loggia of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, a placement that likely dates to Napoleonic requisitions between 1798 and 1815, when the building underwent numerous changes. However, both works of art began life elsewhere: the Madonna and Child lunette originally hailed from the Sant’Orsola convent in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, whereas the lunette depicting the Resurrection of Christ comes from the Santa Chiara church in the Oltrarno, which was founded in 1356.
After undergoing analysis to decide how to best go about restoring each piece, the lunettes were dusted with soft bristle brushes and a vacuum before being cleaned with a solvent of water and ammonium carbonate combined with alcohol and acetone. Restorers used these methods several times to remove the layers of sediment that covered the glazed surfaces.
“The work that began at the height of the pandemic ended a few months ago, returning the lunettes to us and inspiring everyone who lives, studies and teaches every day in these places, starting with the students, professors and staff who work at the Accademia di Belle Arti,” remarks Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda. “Heartfelt thanks to our donors David Canepari, Carroll and John Maxon, and Angela LoRe, whose generosity made these fascinating restorations possible.”