Uffizi’s Angels in America
Recently, I had the opportunity to revisit the Uffizi Gallery. However, this time I was in Fort Lauderdale, rather than Florence. This is because the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art partnered with the Uffizi to bring a stunning exhibit, “Offering of the Angels” to our backyard. The centerpiece of the exhibit was a stunning work by Botticelli titled, “Madonna with Child (Madonna della loggia),” and dated circa 1466-1467.
I remember when I was in Rome in the summer of 1987 that it was the exact time during the restoration of the Sistine Chapel when the restorers had hit the halfway mark. So, one-half of the ceiling was still full of soot and grime, while the other half was brilliant with vibrant color. This was the year prior to my beginning college as an Art History major and I’d been working as an intern for two years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was voraciously consuming the art trades – ArtNews, Art in America, etc. There had been much talk in the press at this time about how Michelangelo was — suddenly — being recognized as a master colorist. This was not something that had been known about his work, or noted. We know now that this was because so many of his great works were buried under centuries of candle wax and ash.
“Offering of the Angels” provides a similar opportunity to rediscover the work of old masters from the perspective enabled by their restoration. The colors are brilliant. The Uffizi has gone one step further to demonstrate the extraordinary discoveries that result from restoration by documenting the restoration of Titian’s “The Madonna and Child with Saint Catherine of Alexandria” dated 1550 to 1560. Uffizi has provided reproductions of all the stages of restoration of this work. Following them, stage-by-stage, is akin to uncovering a hidden treasure and this is precisely the wonder of restoration. It can reveal complexities and nuances within an artwork that have not been fully appreciated or understood since the work was created.
So, I marvel at the restoration process and I marvel at the beauty of the works contained within this exhibit, all of which have been magnificently restored and all of which hinge on the premise of faith within the Christian religion. Art can be seen, faith can not. Faith is a magical vestige of hope and enlightenment and it’s faith that served as the impetus and inspiration for much of the great art of Italy.
If you’d like to read the article I’ve written about this exhibit for Ambassador, the magazine of the National Italian American Foundation (an organization that I have such admiration for, and encourage you to support if you’ve got Italian blood, or an interest in Italy), please click here to download the PDF> Botticelli in Your Backyard by Jenifer Mangione Vogt | Ambassador| National Italian American Foundation