By Maggie Bell
Artist Biagio Biagetti was born on 21 July 1877 in Porto Recanati. Biagetti was a prolific painter and art restorer who specialized in religious images and restored some of the most well-known works of art in Italy. He began his training at a very young age with Ludovico Seitz, who at the time was painting the chapel of the Holy House of Loreto. Seitz is also known for repairing the plaster in the Sistine Chapel in 1903, work that Biagetti went on to complete in the 1920s and 30s.
Biagetti later moved to Rome and after finishing his training at the Accademia di Belle Arti went on to have an eclectic and active career in the city. Biagetti was a member of the Accademia di San Luca, the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia and the Accademia dei Virtuosi del Pantheon. In 1921 Pope Benedict XV appointed Biagetti the Artistic Director for the Paintings Gallery and the Apostolic Palaces. In this capacity he initiated high-profile restoration projects, including Raphael’s stanze, mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore, the frescoes in Sistine Chapel and the Cappella Paolina.
Throughout his career as a restorer Biagetti also worked as a painter, gravitating towards religious subjects that were visibly inspired by 19th-century Symbolism. Though he retired to Recanati in 1945, he became involved in restoration efforts during the aftermath of World War II. In 1947, at the end of his life, Biagetti returned to Loreto to restore the cupola of the basilica.
“BIAGETTI, Biagio.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 9 (1967).
Biagio Biagetti, Apotheosis of Pius X, Treviso Cathedral, 1914-1915
Biagio Biagetti, Sacrificio dei combattenti (central panel of polyptych), Pinacoteca Civica di Ascoli Piceno, 1922-1923