The noted late-nineteenth century restorer Gaetano Bianchi (born February 1819) died on this day, 1892.
Bianchi was the most significant figure in wall-painting restoration in Florence during the second half of the nineteenth century. He trained as a painter, and his self-portrait can be found in the Uffizi’s famous collection of artists’ self-portraits.
The latter decades of the nineteenth century saw a marked increase of attention regarding the restoration of Florence’s extant frescoes, especially on account of a spate of re-discoveries, including Sandro Botticelli’s from the Villa Lemmi, recovered from whitewash in 1873 and removed to the Louvre; Antonio Pollaiuolo’s Dancing Nudes at Arcetri in 1897; and Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Vespucci family in the Church of the Ognissanti in 1898.
Bianchi restored frescoes in Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria Novella, and most notably, the frescoes by Giotto in the Bardi Chapel of Santa Croce in 1852. Bianchi also worked for local collectors and connoisseurs, restoring works such as the medieval paintings in John Temple Leader’s Castello Vicigliata and contributing to the neo-Gothic style interiors of Federico Stibbert’s house museum.
Conti, Alessandro, “Bianchi, Gaetano”, Grove Art Online (2003). http://0-www.oxfordartonline.com.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000008640.
Giotto di Bondone, Scenes from the Life of St Francis (north wall), 1325-28, fresco, Bardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence.