Agnolo Bronzino (1503‒72), Immaculate Conception (1570‒2) from the Church of Santa Maria Regina della Pace.
Incorporating biblical figures from the Old and New Testament, Bronzino’s Immaculate Conception was among the artist’s last works. Left unfinished, it was completed by his workshop. Infrared examination revealed the preparatory drawing placed on the wood panels and outlines of the figures stippled and redrawn in ink. Analysis of the artist’s color palette by ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies in Rome) showed the use of very basic pigments rather than the wide range he used in his youth. As a mature painter, Bronzino used modest pigments (azurite, for example, rather than costly lapis lazuli) to skillfully shape his forms. The restoration team preserved the freshness of the piece; the preparatory elements remain visible in some areas and robust brushstrokes are evident in others. This restoration project was supported by Bruce and Stacy Simon and a group of fellow donors from Omaha, Nebraska.
Palazzo Strozzi Exhibition
Bronzino’s Immaculate Conception was one of six seminal artworks from the Italian Renaissance—meticulously restored with support from Friends of Florence—featured in a major exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy: The Cinquecento in Florence from Michelangelo and Pontormo to Giambologna, that was on view September 21, 2017–January 21, 2018. Comprising 70 paintings and sculptures, the exhibition was organized to illuminate what Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) called “the modern manner” juxtaposed with the dictates of the Counter Reformation. The influence of Francesco I de’ Medici (1541-87), one of the greatest figures in the history of courtly patronage of the arts in Europe, was also examined.
Loaned from museums and churches in Florence—some of which have also benefited from Friends of Florence support for conservation and restoration—the six masterworks included in the exhibition were:
- Pontormo’s (1494‒1557) iconic Deposition (1525‒8) from the Church of Santa Felicita
- Agnolo Bronzino’s (1503‒72) stunning Immaculate Conception (1570‒2) from the Church of Santa Maria Regina della Pace
- River God (1526‒7), a rare clay study by Michelangelo (1475‒1564)
- Giambologna’s (1529‒1608) bronze Crucifix (1598) from the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata
- Two richly detailed paintings by Alessandro Allori (1535‒1607) from the Basilica of Santo Spirito