To honour the 500th anniversary of Sandro Botticelli’s death, all the artist’s works from public collections in Lombardy are on show together for the first time at Milan’s Poldi Pezzoli Museum, reports ANSA. Restoration work carried out on the paintings prior to the exhibition is likely to be influential in future studies of Botticelli’s work.
The Museum’s own Madonna of the Book has been restored to reveal bright colours which had previously been obscured by layers of varnish applied over the centuries. During the restoration researchers also found that the Madonna’s mantle had been painted with lapis lazuli dust.
Another painting on display, the Suffering Christ in the Act of Blessing, has now been definitively attributed to Botticelli rather than to other painters in his workshop and the exhibition’s curator, Andrea di Lorenzo, has reconstructed its original diptych context.
The paintings are displayed against an original, dark backdrop by Luca Rolla and Alberto Bertini, so that they stand out as points of light.
Botticelli, whose “Birth of Venus” was instrumental in forming the western concept of the “ideal woman”, enjoyed the patronage of the Medici but died in poverty in 1510. In Lombardy patrons preferred Botticelli’s pupils so cities in the region did not acquire more of his works.
“Botticelli nelle collezioni lombarde” is at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, until 28th February 2011.