FLORENCE, ITALY – After a three-year-long restoration, Renaissance master Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection can once again be admired in its original glory at the civic museum of Sansepolcro, the little Tuscan town where the artist was born sometime around 1420.
The long restoration work was carried out by Florence’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure, one of Italy’s most well-known restoration laboratories, and the art superintendency of Arezzo and Siena, with a 100,000 euro donation from Buitoni manager Aldo Osti.
The restoration saved the fresco from damage caused, among other things, by earthquakes, an exhaust pipe and 40 previous minor restorations including one in the 19th century in which sodium hydroxide was used to “clean” the painting.
The details and colors that make up the masterpiece have been brought back to life – the eyes of Jesus Christ, the draping of his pink cloak, the soldiers at his feet and the hills and fortresses against a clear blue sky on the background.
The fresco described by Giorgio Vasari, the father of modern art history, as the Renaissance pioneer’s “most beautiful” artwork and hailed by British novelist Aldous Huxley in 1925 in the essay “The most beautiful painting in the world”, is a symbol of Sansepolcro. Indeed gunnery officer Anthony Clarke in 1944 famously decided at the last minute not to bombard the town because he remembered about the masterpiece he would otherwise have risked destroying.
Art historians have often dated the fresco between 1450 and 1465 but new research has shifted the date to 1470.