Restoration of Gherardo Starnina triptych ends: masterpiece now returns to Germany


The Wrzburg triptych, a masterpiece by Gherardo Starnina, returns to Germany at the end of January: restoration work completed.

Restoration work has been completed on the Wrzburg triptych, a masterpiece by Gherardo Starnina (Florence, c. 1354-before 1413), one of the leading exponents of international Gothic. The Florentine artist’s work features in the central compartment a Madonna and Child among angels, and in the side compartments on one side St. Margaret of Antioch and St. Philip, and on the other side St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene, dates from around 1409 and is preserved at the Martin von Wagner Museum of the University of Wrzburg, Germany. The triptych is on German soil because it was purchased by collector Martin von Wagner, who was an artist to the kings of Bavaria in the early 19th century. Von Wagner recognized the great quality of the three panels, at the time attributed to an unspecified Tuscan primitive, and decided to buy them for his own collection. The authorship to Gherardo Starnina has recently been recognized.

The three panels that make up the work were exhibited at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence on the occasion of last year’s major monographic exhibition on Giovanni dal Ponte (click here to read our review), at the initiative of the director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, Cecilie Hollberg: prior to the exhibition, the panels underwent some preliminary investigations, and were the protagonists of two days of studies during which the great importance of the work in the transitional phase between the International Gothic and the Early Renaissance was recognized. When the exhibition was over, the work was sent to the laboratories of theOpificio delle Pietre Dure for a restoration carried out thanks to the support of the Ernst von Siemens Kunstststiftung, a German foundation active in the field of protection and enhancement.

The restoration also gave the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and the Museum of the University of Wrzburg the opportunity to trace twenty fragments that were once part of Starnina’s work (which would therefore no longer be a triptych, but ... a more complex polyptych). A temporary exhibition was therefore announced during which the reconstruction of the polyptych would be re-presented. At the proposal of Martin von Wagner Museum director Damian Dombrowski, an international team of Italian, American, and German experts will be in charge of the exhibition. Preliminary studies for the project, on the other hand, will be carried out thanks to the support of the Bayerische Forschungsallianz (Research Alliance of Bavaria). Gherardo Starnina’s work will return to Germany at the end of January. On the exhibition, however, no further information is yet leaked.

Pictured: Gherardo Starnina, Central compartment and side compartments of polyptych: St. Margaret ofAntioch and St. Philip; Madonna and Child among Angels; St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene (c. 1409; tempera on panel, central compartment: 161 x 77 cm, side compartments: 127 x 76 cm; Wrzburg, Martin von Wagner Museum der Universitt Wrzburg)

Restoration of Gherardo Starnina triptych ends: masterpiece now returns to Germany
Restoration of Gherardo Starnina triptych ends: masterpiece now returns to Germany