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Alte Pinakothek publishes Florentine paintings caalogue, restores Botticelli painting
Dr. Wibke Neugebauer is pictured during the removal of varnishes and overpaints from the 19th century. Photo: Jens Wagner, Doerner Institute.

MUNICH.- The catalogue of Florentine paintings in the Alte Pinakothek covers one of the internationally most important collections of paintings at the centre of the Renaissance. Some 80 works, including panels by Giotto, Fra Angelico, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippo Lippi, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto, have been thoroughly examined, art historically and technologically, for the first time.

The written contributions present new findings on the attribution, provenance, iconography and the history of the genre and function. Analyses of materials and painting techniques explore the artists’ working methods and enable a better understanding of correlations that led to a change of technique and style. Four introductory essays focus on the specific characteristics of Florentine painting seen in the light of current research on the art of the early modern era in Italy.

The opulent inventory catalogue presents the results of an interdisciplinary research project at the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and the Doerner Institut that was generously sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation.

Presentation of Sandro Botticelli’s restored and reframed ‘Lamentation of Christ’
‘The Lamentation of Christ’ (c. 1490/95) created by Sandro Botticelli for the high altar in San Paolino in Florence was, in the past, not shown as the artist had originally intended. Technological analyses of the painting and cleaning tests revealed that this moving depiction had been greatly impaired not only by yellowed layers of varnish but – primarily – also by the interventions of a restorer in the 19th century. To cover up layers of paint that were missing or had been plastered over, a Florentine restorer overpainted large areas of the scene in 1812. This resulted in the extreme dulling of its powerful colouring.

Previous efforts at retouching, overpainting and layers of varnish were removed during the restoration that has now been completed by the Doerner Institut and was financed by the Rudolf-August Oetker-Foundation. Despite the usual aging process the painting’s appearance is now very close to that originally intended. For the first time in centuries the viewer now has the possibility of experiencing the cool yet glowing colouration that is rich in contrast, without any dulling.

A new gallery frame that has been carved, gilded and painted based on an original Italian frame from the Renaissance, enhances the large altarpiece’s return to the gallery.

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