VALLADOLID, SPAIN.- The International Award of the Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón for Restoration and Conservation was given to Gianluigi Colalucci, restorer of the Sistine Chapel. Gianluigi Colalucci, was born in Italy in 1929. He got a degree in engineering and a diploma in restoration from the Central Restoration Institute in Rome, under the directorship of Cesare Brandi.
He developed his professional work in the Restoration Laboratory of the National Gallery of Sicily, restoring a large quantity of works of art. At the beginning of the 60’s, he was asked to collaborate in the General Management of Monuments, Museums and Pontifical Galleries, where he was named Director in 1979 until 1995.
From 1980 until 1994, he was the person in charge of the restoration of the paintings in fresco by Michelangelo of the Sistine Chapel.
In 1991 he was bestowed Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of New York and in 1995 by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where he has collaborated with the Department of Conservation and Restoration, since 1991, in courses, conferences and restoration projects.
During his professional career he has worked in the restoration of works of art by some of the most important artists ever, like Michelangelo, Raffaello, Giotto, Leonardo, Reni, Lotto, Tiziano, Mantenga, Caravaggio, Guercino, Perin de Vaga, Dosso Dosis, Altichiero, and a large number of painting in fresco like those of Lucas Jordan in the Cason del Buen Retiro where he intervened as an advisor for the Prado Museum.
He has complemented this brilliant professional career with teaching, hosting classes and conferences in Universities, Institutes and Schools, and Museums of Italy, France, England, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, the United States, Australia, Japan and Latin America, being without a doubt one of the top experts in restoration in mural painting in the world.
His work, besides being able to contemplate it, can be studied in the different publications that have been done on the subjects like: Michelangelo, La Capella Sistina. Rapparto sul restauro del Guidizio Universale in collaboration with F. Mancineli, F. Morresi and G. Chiari or Michelangelo, La Capella Sistina. Rapparto sul restauro della Valta in collaboration with F. Mancineli and N. Gabriele, among many others.
He has been recognized as a member of honour of the most prestigious restoration organizations like the International Institute of Conservation, Cultural Art Association Educatrice Museum of Roma or the CICOP. He has been distinguished with different honourable mentions like the symbol of excellence for the work given to him by the Ministerial Council of the Popular Republic of Hungry, his naming as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of San Gregorio Magno granted by the Pope Paul VI or the title of Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of San Gregorio Magno in 1994 by the Pope John Paul II.
Of Gianluigi Colalucci it can be said that he changed the History of Art with the help of a cotton ball soaked in distilled water and dissolvent, which were his necessary cleaning instruments for the painting in fresco of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, a key milestone in artistic restoration, whose start dates back more than twenty years.