Restoration for Raphael's Portrait of Pope Leo X

Yesterday, the restoration project of the Portrait of Pope Leo X by Raphael that will be carried out by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure was presented.

Yesterday, October 17, the restoration project of the famous Portrait of Pope Leo X de’ Medici with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi de’ Rossi by the great Raphael was presented.
Until 2020 the painting will be “in care” at theOpificio delle Pietre Dure.

Initial scientific investigations have shown that “the pictorial layers as a whole, do not present conservation problems: the preparation is well adhered to the support and the color to the preparation. There are, however, remarks from lifting and contractions along the joints of the boards and, above all, in some areas, there are color lifts whose nature seems not to depend on the movements of the support. These are in the form of raised flakes that require restoration work to be scheduled soon.”
Thegeneral appearance of the work “is obscured by the alteration of the varnish, dating from the last restoration. As repeatedly observed in cases of this kind, oxidation results in a change in the refractive index of light and, consequently, a generalized flattening of vision. The modulations between shadows and lights are lost, and the reliefs determined by these, become flattened. This is particularly evident in the areas of maximum light of the painting and in correspondence to all the virtuosity of mimesis of the materials already described by Vasari, which, undeniably, are now difficult to perceive except in a design declination.”

The restoration will be entrusted to Oriana Sartiani for the pictorial film, who will collaborate with Roberto Bellucci for the diagnostic investigations, while Andrea Santacesaria will be entrusted with solving the problems of wooden tension.
Non-invasive pigment investigations, digital scanning and 2D and 3D analysis will then be carried out to acquire scientific models and images for the documentation of the restoration.

The director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, said, "As part of the collaboration between the Uffizi Galleries and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and following in the footsteps of the universal success of the restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi, which returned to the museum last March, it is now the turn of another masterpiece. For Raphael’s portrait of Leo X, which will undergo a series of sophisticated analyses and restoration in anticipation of the celebrations for the five-hundredth anniversary of the artist’s death in 2020, a more excellent team cannot be imagined."

The Superintendent of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Marco Ciatti, also commented, “The Opificio delle Pietre Dure is pleased to be able to continue its collaboration with the Uffizi by addressing the conservation problems of the Leone X. This will make it possible to achieve, in addition to the restoration of the subject, a broadening of knowledge about the work. Indeed, the project will be able to take advantage of the comparison with technical data derived from the numerous restorations and studies on this artist carried out by the laboratory.”

Image: Raphael Sanzio, Portrait of Pope Leo X de’ Medici with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi de’ Rossi (1518; 155.5 x 119.5 cm; Florence, Uffizi)

Restoration for Raphael's Portrait of Pope Leo X
Restoration for Raphael's Portrait of Pope Leo X

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