Santa Croce fresco restoration like “looking angels in the eye”

April 13, 2011
(Santa Croce Church is seen in Florence February 26, 2010. Restorers using ultra-violet rays have rediscovered rich original details of Giotto's paintings in the Peruzzi Chapel in Florence's Santa Croce church that have been hidden for centuries. The aim of the study, partly funded by a grant from the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, was to gather information on the 170 square metre (1,830 square feet) chapel to use as a road map and "hospital chart" for a future restoration. Picture taken February 26, 2010. To match EXCLUSIVE: ARTS-ITALY/GIOTTO REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

(Santa Croce Basilica in Florence, Italy, February 26, 2010/Alessandro Bianchi )

For lovers of Italian art, it’s as close as you can come to ascending a stairway to heaven and looking angels in the eye. For the first time after a major restoration, the scaffolding that has shrouded the 850 sq m (9,150 sq ft) of frescoes of the Capella Maggiore in Florence’s famed Santa Croce Basilica will not be dismantled immediately.

Instead, for about a year, a small number of visitors will be able to don hard hats and clamber up the clanking steps to admire the 600-year-old frescos of Agnolo Gaddi, the last major “descendant” of the Giotto school, from close up.

(Scaffolding shroud the 600-year-old frescoes of the Capella Maggiore in the Florence's Santa Croce Basilica April 7, 2011. For the first time after a major restoration, the scaffolding that has shrouded the 850 sq m (9,150 sq ft) of frescoes of the Capella Maggiore will not be dismantled immediately, and for about a year, a small number of visitors will be able to don hard hats and clamber up the clanking steps to admire the 600-year-old frescos of Agnolo Gaddi, the last major "descendant" of the Giotto school, from close up. Picture taken April 7, 2011. REUTERS/ Alessandro Bianchi)

(Scaffolding shroud the 600-year-old frescoes of the Capella Maggiore in the Florence's Santa Croce Basilica April 7, 2011/ Alessandro Bianchi)

“Climbing up the scaffolding and standing in precisely the same spot where the artist stood is a bit like travelling in a time machine,” said Alberto Felici, one of the team that spent five years restoring the frescoes. “You can re-live the emotions and the atmosphere that the painter experienced 600 years ago,” he said, speaking some 30 m (90 ft) above the basilica’s ground floor.

(A newly restored fresco of a saint is seen at the top of the nave of Florence's Santa Croce Basilica April 7, 2011. For the first time after a major restoration, the scaffolding that has shrouded the 850 sq m (9,150 sq ft) of frescoes of the Capella Maggiore will not be dismantled immediately, and for about a year, a small number of visitors will be able to don hard hats and clamber up the clanking steps to admire the 600-year-old frescos of Agnolo Gaddi, the last major "descendant" of the Giotto school, from close up. Picture taken April 7, 2011. REUTERS/ Alessandro Bianchi)

(A newly restored fresco of a saint at the top of the nave of Florence's Santa Croce Basilica April 7, 2011. For about a year, a small number of visitors will be able to don hard hats and clamber up the clanking steps to admire the 600-year-old frescos of Agnolo Gaddi, the last major "descendant" of the Giotto school, from close up/ Alessandro Bianchi)

Since the next restoration may not take place for centuries, it is the chance of a lifetime to get within inches of a masterpiece that helped pave the way for the Renaissance.

Read the full story here.

Here’s a reuters video on the porject:

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One comment

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The restoration of the Santa Croce Basilica is great news. I am very kind of Agnolo Gaddi’s artwork and I would love admire his frescos. I also like this painting, ‘The Triumph of the Cross’ here .

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