How did you become a restorer? What was your training path?
This profession has always fascinated me and after high school my road was already marked: the Institute for art and restoration of Palazzo Spinelli, in Florence, where I graduated in painting restoration.
After graduating, I started practicing at qualified restoration labs, participating in the execution of important works, and continuing to follow, as much as possible, training and specialization courses in lining and cleaning of paintings. Today, after 35 years of experience, I am still at this work every day with constant and renewed passion.
Let’s talk now about your work. With Art-Test there have been many opportunities for collaboration, which one do you want to remember?
With Art-Test there were many opportunities for collaboration, in particular I would like to mention the restoration of a painting by Carlo Dolci depicting a Madonna with child, where an X-ray campaign was requested. We wanted to verify whether in the some areas there was an underlying pictorial layer, since the composition suggested that there were originally other characters or other elements: it was not clear where the Madonna and child’s eyes were directed. The X-ray confirmed the presence of another figure under the dark colored pictorial layer, the Virgin and the Child aimed their gaze towards a genuflected Mago (of the Three Kings).
Madonna and Child, by Carlo Dolci on the left, on the rigth the riconstruction of the original composition as visible in the X-Rays image
In general, what are the most common problems encountered during a restoration in which diagnostics techniques are most useful? And what are the advantages for a restorer to combine a targeted diagnostic campaign with a restoration project?
Diagnostics is required when there is the need to deepen the “reading” of an artwork, i.e. the knowledge of the materials, the techniques of execution, and its state of conservation. The restorer uses scientific analyses to better conduct the intervention by acquiring information that is not identifiable with the naked eye.
The restorer, diagnostician and art historian team together can arrive at a complete understanding of the composition of the work and its state of conservation.
You have been working in this field for many years, what changes have you noticed, for example in terms of customers, prices and clients?
I work for both public and private clients and in this way there is always a continuity of assignments. The public clients of the Museums and Foundations seem to be resuming their activity, after the pandemic, organizing exhibitions for which the restoration of the works is often required. The private clientele of collectors and antique dealers fluctuates a lot depending on what the market requires, which is rather variable as usual for autonomous service activities. Unfortunately, competition is strong, but we try to respect fairness of remuneration, in order to always maintain a high quality of work.