The on-going restoration of Piero Della Francesca's majestic masterpiece The Resurrection of Christ continues to produce surprises as work continues. The Resurrection, thought to have been executed around the 1460s, when the artist was working in nearby Arezzo, is frescoed on the wall of the Civic Museum in the town of Sansepolcro (Tuscany) and continues to be visible throughout the restoration period.
A team of experts from the famous Florentine restoration laboratory, l'Opificio delle Pietre Dure, started work a year ago when they reported serious damage to the underlying plaster and clumsy past restoration attempts which altered the colours. The work has been financed partly by the town of Sansepolcro, the Italian Heritage Ministry and businessman Aldo Osti, a fellow citizen of Piero della Francesca, who was born, in fact, in Sansepolcro. Particulars revealed that were hidden before under layers of dirt include villages, towers and castles crowning the hills in the background. A study of the artist's tecniques shows that he worked on the painting on eighteen separate occasions.
The fresco, which Aldous Huxley hailed as the greatest painting in the world , had a narrow escape from destruction during the last war when Allied troops were commanded to shell the town. British artillery officer Anthony Clarke, however, defied orders so that the work would not be endangered. Grateful citizens of Sansepolcro have named a street in his honour.
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