Sebastiano del Piombo and painting on stone - Palatine Gallery Pitti Palace, Florence
The Portrait of Baccio Valori by Sebastiano del Piombo has been restored at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and is now being returned to the Palatine Gallery. The restoration operation and the results of the studies carried out on the work will be presented in an interesting exhibition that will be inaugurated on Monday 19 May at 5.00 p.m., and in the book to be published as part of the series Problemi di Conservazione e Restauro by Edifir-Edizioni Firenze in collaboration with the O.P.D.
The study of the work has provided the opportunity for a further exploration of the figure of Baccio Valori, a Florentine who played a leading role in some of the decisive phases of the political history of Renaissance Florence. A loyal supporter of the Medici faction, he took part in the siege of Florence, and immediately after the recovery of the city was appointed to the office of governor, which he maintained with a certain ferocity. When Alessandro de’ Medici came to power he served as an influential counsellor to the Duke, and after the latter’s assassination he supported the Florentine outlaws against the succession of Cosimo de’ Medici. He later fought in the battle of Montemurlo (1537), and was then imprisoned and condemned to death.
The restoration also offered the opportunity for further insight into the materials used by the artist, including the unusual support. The painting appears to have been the first of a series executed on stone that met with particular success, and which brought to light the artist’s indubitable claims to fame in terms of technical experimentation.
The Portrait of Baccio Valori was subjected to the diagnostic tests required to fully understand the materials used, the artistic technique and the pathologies in progress. In line with the method followed by the O.P.D., the first phase was devoted to a non-invasive overall exploration (Infrared Reflectography, Ultraviolet Fluorescence, Infrared False Colour etc.), followed by more detailed investigation using non-invasive approaches, thus restricting to a very limited number of points the most intricate knowledge to be gleaned from invasive techniques, namely sampling.
The conservation and restoration operation, aimed primarily at retrieving the legibility of the work which previously revealed a much-darkened surface that had clearly suffered from the conservation operations of the past, was skilfully carried out by Oriana Sartiani.
Dates of this event 19/05/2014 - 13/07/2014