Art-Test has been called to shed light on the matter in a small church near Florence
Who painted the “Pietà di Marcialla”? The issue has been debated for many years, but only on last 9th of May the first analyses were carried out on the wall painting in Santa Maria a Marcialla, a small church on the Florentine countryside.
Despite its remote location, the painting is of remarkable quality and some scholars believe it to be the work of Michelangelo Buonarroti. So finally the Municipality of Barberino Val d’Elsa decided to investigate the claim, by promoting objective studies conducted with scientific devices.
Art-Test Florence, in charge of the investigations, during the first survey could confirm the presence of many incisions to be connected with the transferring of the preparatory drawing onto the wall and, moreover, the existence of some “pentimenti” concerning e.g. the lower arm and the left leg of Christ. Furthermore, new details emerged from a first careful examination of the painting, e.g. the depiction of a city walled with towers, located between the Good Thief and Our Lady.
Much more needs investigation. It is not yet clear, e.g., which pictorial technique was used to perform the work, i.e. if is it a real “fresco” or not. Moreover, based on the analyses made so far, it is not certain whether it was painted only by one hand or more painters contributed. This first diagnostic campaign was only the first act of the full scientific campaign that awaits this painting. The town of Barberino Val d’Elsa, by the will of its Mayor Trentanovi, shall support the next studies meant to fully understand the genesis of the work, the adopted art techniques , the material composition of the painting and the possible overlay of more versions. Eager to find out more? So are we! We will keep you up to date!