Particularly interesting and challenging from a technical point of view, the restoration of this large altarpiece almost 5 meters high, was realised thanks to the generous contribution of the Bank of Alba, which sponsored the restoration.
Transferred from the church of the lagoon state capital to the laboratory of Aramengo, the painting has been the subject of detailed instrumental investigations to UV, IR at different wavelengths and a complete radiograph of the entire surface that has provided for 104 exposures. These investigations combined with chemical analysis on the architectural materials, as well as guiding the complex restoration project, have allowed us to study in depth the tormented genesis of the work, highlighting the numerous reconsiderations and compositional variations. The troubled conservative vicissitudes of the painting that had led to multiple restorations over the centuries - 13 documented from the sources - including drastic soda cleaning, since the old one, disastrous lining, conducted first in France where Napoleon brought the work, then in Italy in the mid-nineteenth century, then a transposition of the colour in 1882, had consequently brought repeated pictorial remakes conducted on large plastered stuccos, largely overflowing on the original.
A courageous choice carried out together with the Venetian Government Department for Cultural Heritage, to wholly and gradually remove the numerous repaintings - except for the eighteenth-century one that incorporates the signature - and bring to light, together with the darting strokes of Tiziano, also the numerous present deficiencies and abrasions already highlighted by the analyses.
The pictorial reintegration phase, carried out in total respect of the original, in tone and with very fine hatching in the most critical areas, required expertise and particular sensitivity in rebuilding the parts that had suffered the most.
The significant amount of data and information collected, shared and related to the historical-artistic news on the activity of Titian and the events of the painting, have merged into the publication of two volumes dedicated to this fascinating and challenging intervention. For further information:
AR Nicola, Attraverso il restauro in L. Puppi, L. Lonzi, La notte di San Lorenzo, Ed. Terraferma, 2013
AR Nicola, Un restauro difficile in Tiziano Atto II, Banca d'Alba, 2013
Manual skills, technology and science in an artisan restoration workshop