"The Crowning
of the Madonna with eight angels"

the beginning of the restoration
of the work by Bernardo Daddi

by Sandro Pintus

Florence is by now used to receiving a pleasing gift at the end of every year, a gift that improves the art and culture of the city. Since 1994 a group of businessman from the centre of the city, meeting as part of the Associazione Calzaiuoli, finance the restoring of one of Florence's works of art. Among the works restored thanks to this association are the panel "Allegoria della Fortezza by Sandro Botticelli, now on display in the Uffizi and the facade of the church of San Carlo dei Lombardi.

"The Crowning of the Madonna between eight angels, a panel by Bernardo Daddi

The work of art chosen this year is The Crowning of the Madonna between eight angels, a painting on the panel of the artist Bernardo Daddi from the Giotto school. The panel depicting the Madonna is linked with the plague of 1348 that struck Florence, an event that halved the population of the city.

It's a large work in tempera on the tabernacle of Andrea Orcagna in
the church of Orsanmichele, in via Calzaiuoli. The panel was begun in 1347 and its restoration was initiated on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of its execution, a work that will take the entire year and cost 40 million lire. Doctor Muriel Vervat, an expert on 13th and 14th century works of art and a collaborator of the Sopraintendenza of Siena, will intervene on Daddi's panel whose wooden structure underwent restoration in 1937.

The painting has a long central crack running down it that probably appeared shortly after its delivery. However the restoration work will not concern this antique wound owing to the binding of the wood but rather to the fading of the colours over the centuvies. During the restoration a study of the weakened wooden structure will also be carried out, a direct cause of the loss of buoyancy of colour and, with the aid of sophisticated equipment, it is hoped to uncover drawings covered by the tempera.

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