THE MADONNA DEL CARDELLINO
Love, art and gracefulness.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi is about to exhibit Raphael’s great Madonna del cardellino (Madonna of the goldfinch), completely restored thanks to the work of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. This painting by Raphael was first badly damaged in 1547, the first restorer being the painter Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio. It has been retouched several times since, with the result that successive layers completely obscured the original colours.
This new radical restoration, lasting nine years, has brought back the delicate colouring of the painting, executed by Raphael as a young man for his friend Lorenzo Nasi during the painter’s Florentine period. The “new life” of the painting will be presented to the public in Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the home of Cosimo il Vecchio and now the seat of the Province of Florence, which is the body that together with the Ministry of Culture, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and the Uffizi Gallery has promoted and believed in this initiative.
The exhibition, curated by Antonio Natali and Marco Ciatti, consists of few but very interesting components: alongside the painting itself are panels describing the various stages of the restoration, multimedia devices and high definition videos which provide a clear, close-up view of it, while four other works contemporary with it illustrate the atmosphere and taste of the time.
These are La Donna Gravida, a work attributed to Raphael; La Monaca, very likely painted by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, a contemporary of Raphael; a subtle and grotesque panel, also by Ridolfo and intended as a “cover” for the painting representing the Nun; and finally a Madonna, Child and John the Baptist in glazed terracotta by Girolamo della Robbia.
“When the exhibition is over,” says the Superintendent Cristina Acidini, “the Madonna del Cardellino will return to Room 26 in the Galleria degli Uffizi, which Raphael shares with Andrea del Sarto in a dizzying series of masterpieces.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from 23 November to 1 March 2009, at Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Via Cavour 3, opening hours 9-19 every day except Wednesdays.
Booking by telephone may be done through the ticket office at Tel. 055 2760340