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0 comments | Monday, December 04, 2006




You may remember the Madonna della Strada as all clothed in a deep dark blue, against a black background. You may remember that the Christ Child in that icon has no feet, and that he seems glued to the Virgin with no hint how he is able to sit so regally. For a long time , the icon has been undergoing restoration. Restoration revealed that the image was retouched at least twice and that the orginal color and details of the icon have disappeared. In October 2006, the restoration was completed and the icon solemnly reinstalled in the chapel dedicated to it in the Gesu in Rome. Click www.chiesadelgesu.org to learn more about the restoration. The site is in Italian, so I have provided a tentative translation of the Italian text.

Here's the della Strada that we knew and the restored icon . What do you think?
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Translation of the Italian text: Restoration of the icon of the Madonna della Strada

The cleaning and restoration of the antique icon of the Madonna della Strada, in the custody of the Church of the Gesu [in Rome] is complete.

Sunday, 8 October [2006] the restored icon of the Madonna della Sttrada was returned to its accustomed place during a solemn celebration presided by His Eminence Cardinal [Camillo] Ruini [representing Pope Benedict XIV].

The icon of the Madonna is preserved as a fresco removed from its wall and fixed on cloth (perhaps two sheets stuck together) her face is placed on a gray background.

The original icon is greatly damaged, specifically at the edges; in fact it has been discovered that there were at least two painted layers from succeeding epochs, which not only covered cracks for the purpose of consolidating [the painted surface] in the surrounding area but that resulted in the loss of the original colors [of the icon].

The restoration—currently underway—is long and delicate but allows the retrival of the antique image in all its nobility of design and vibrancy of color. It is enough to remember that the heavy dark black background of the image, the result of an oil varnish, hid the original color blue.

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