Jacopo di Cione’s Madonna della Neve altarpiece restored

Jacopo di Cione’s Madonna della Neve altarpiece restored

Friends of Florence fund restoration and relocation of Renaissance work.

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Tue 02 Jul 2024 2:18 PM

The altarpiece depicting the Madonna della Neve painted by Jacopo di Cione is once again on display in the Santi Apostoli e Biagio Church in Florence after a 58-year absence, following a meticulous restoration made possible thanks to the support of Friends of Florence.

Before the restoration
Before the restoration

The piece was originally crafted for the church in piazza del Limbo and is said to have been commissioned by Stoldo Altoviti in the mid-late 14th century, according to the wishes of his father, Bindo. The request was to erect a chapel in the church of the Santi Apostoli to the right of the main altar. The figure of the Madonna and Child and fragments of biblical stories can be traced to Jacopo di Cione, the younger brother of Andrea Orcagna and Nardo di Cione. The extensive work, which began during the pandemic period, was completed in May 2024.

Triptych recomposed after restoration
Triptych recomposed after restoration

Over the years, multiple restorations have been carried out, but extensive damage was incurred due to a likely infestation of wood insects, which compromised the frames and altar-step, so much so that they had to be removed. The work was disassembled into three pieces and kept in the storage rooms of the restoration workshops until 2020, when cleaning and recovery began. This latest restoration involved the scrupulous study of the individual panels and the evaluation of reuniting the whole work. Sanding of the large stuccoed areas and stain removal from the paint brought to light important fragments of original colour that allowed for the reconstruction of some of the narrative scenes. The work has now returned to display in the church after 58 years of absence.

Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda, President of Friends of Florence, comments, “Finally, we can once again admire the altarpiece depicting the Madonna della Neve by Jacopo di Cione in the Church of Santi Apostoli e Biagio. We are pleased to have supported this important intervention, which has permitted not only the preservation of the work, but also its re-assembly with the scientific rigor necessary for its overall readability. On behalf of Friends of Florence, I thank Father Nicola Tovagliari, Parish Priest of the Church of Santi Apostoli and Biagio, who gave us the opportunity to carry out this work; Jennifer Celani and Daniela Parenti of the ABAP Superintendence, who directed the work with great attention; and the restorer Lisa Venerosi Pesciolini, who carried out the intervention together with Roberto Buda and the team. Our heartfelt thanks also goes to Angela Lo Re, Francis O’Neill, Denise Monteleone, Jim Martin, the Fullerton family, and David Swensen, our donors who made the entire project possible”.

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