Love, Art and Grace

Raphael's Madonna del Cardellino 

November 23 through March 1

After nine years of meticulous restoration, the Madonna del Cardellino, one of Raphael’s great masterpieces will be on display at Palazzo Medici Riccardi. An exhaustive effort in recovery has revealed the brilliant variety of colors and implementation of light that were the artist’s trademarks even from his youth in Urbino. After March 1st, the piece will be returned to its former place in the Uffizi Gallery.  There it will be featured as part of a five-piece exhibition containing also La Gravida, (a portrait by Raphael done between 1504 and 1508), La Monaca (a portrait attributed to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, the son of Domenico, friend and contemporary of Raphael), a blanket decorated in grotesque themes which has been conversely attributed to Raphael and to Ridolfo and was presumably used as a cover for La Monaca, and, finally, a work in glazed terracotta, done by Giorlamo della Robbia in imitation of Raphael’s unfinished Bella Giardiniera, which antique tradition holds was completed by Ridolfo and which is currently on exhibit at the Louvre. 

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure is responsible for the restoration, deemed a 'mission impossible' after damages were assessed as having been incurred as early as 1547.
The exhibition, curated by Marco Ciatti and the director of the Uffizi Gallery, Antonio Natali, is sure to open multimedia dialogues previously unimagined.  Visitors will marvel, not only over the painting itself, but also the technical aspects of restoration, the historical and artistic guidance inherently at the heart of rediscovering a Renaissance icon.   

Encased in glass in the interest of preservation, the Madonna invites comment from those with interest in the world of visual art.  The same Florence that defined Michaelangelo’s inspiration, defined that of Raphael as well, and the same aptitude here is displayed in the Madonna as in Michaelangelo’s “Doni Tondo.”  The comparison, though perhaps transient, exemplifies Raphael’s supreme talent since he was evidently able to take in and imitate so much of the Renaissance movement and Florentine culture during a sojourn as brief as a few years. 

Palazzo Medici Riccardi is located at Via Cavour, 3 

Opening hours Thursday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Tickets are €7 (€4 reduced)

For more information, call 055-2760340 or visit


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Theresa Schroeder

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