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TITOLO: Four Lectures on Leonardo da Vinci (Lecture 4)

WRITTEN BY: Lorenzo Matteoli

DATE: January 2005

edited by Mrs. Wendy Charnell

 

LEONARDO DA VINCI

University of Western Australia Extension
JANUARY 2005


Four Lectures by
LORENZO MATTEOLI

 



FOURTH LECTURE
The Restoration of the Last Supper
Homage to Pinin Brambilla Barcilon


 

 


The decision
The Milan Superintendent and Central Italian Authority for the Conservation and Protection of Cultural Heritage had to deal with a rapid and unstoppable decay process, provoked by a chain of unfortunate events which took place over more than 5 centuries. It was clear that a meaningful part of the masterpiece was still recoverable and that something had to be done that was conceptually and technologically clear and certain. In this type of work there is no margin for error.
The technique chosen and the operational method were defined in order to achieve the best results with the minimum risk. The twenty years (in fact 22 years) of work are more than justified by the results.
The painting is readable and also its basic importance for the history of the Italian Renaissance Painting is revealed. The work of art has been analyzed in technical and operational details that have been unknown up to now and new light has been shed on the complex personality of Leonardo in previously unknown terms.
Restoration as an archaeological process and as a mean for knowledge
A result that seems to me to have been missed by many commentators, but that I think, on its own justifies the challenge, is that with the information acquired about the painting, the technique, the media, the colours, the pigments, and the details of the fantastic manual ability of Leonardo, it would be possible today to produce a plausible original of the work (not a copy!) as it appeared when Leonardo cleaned his brush for the last time and left the Refectory after a long, intense and perhaps slightly worried scrutiny of his Last Supper. The chromatic tones, painting gestures, transparencies, luminosity, chiaroscuro, fading shadows, perspective …… all are documented and clear.
While walking home that night, Leonardo was content and satisfied with himself: at last something was “finito”, by golly! (or whatever was the equivalent Florentine expletive of the time).
But something deep in his mind was nagging him, something he knew, but could not tell anybody.

Pinin's gift
The true gift of Pinin Brambilla is not only to have brought back to a readable condition what was left of the original Leonardo painting, but also to have made available for electronic modern graphic software the data-base for the ultimate, supreme and unequalled form of restoration: the actual remaking of the Last Supper as Leonardo saw it that last night. Goethe’s dream, in his passionate report to his Lord the Grand Duke Charles Augustus of Saxony, and the dream of Giuseppe Bossi - to save the Last Supper from the almost complete devastation that he foresaw. That will be possible with the sophisticated printing technologies now available and with the legacy of knowledge and documentation discovered in twenty-two years of constant and patient endeavour by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon.
Never have so many owed so much - to one person!

Originals, copies, clones
The vociferous critics like Mr. Ross King, James Beck and Martin Kemp seem not to understand that the result of a restoration challenge, such as the one performed on the Last Supper by Leonardo, is not only the new readability of the painting and prevention of further decay which, in themselves, would be great achievements, but also the precious knowledge recovered and made available for future applications.
(Warning! dangerous idea ahead, supporting these ideas could lead you into serious trouble! LM)
The specific culture that still today dominates the sector of visual arts, rejecting the idea of a “perfect copy” is, in my opinion, not justified. The copy to them has no value, even if absolutely perfect. The puzzling thing is that this same culture naturally and unconditionally appreciates the infinite copies which are constantly made of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or of the Beatles’ song “Imagine”, to name but a few.
Somebody has yet to explain to me the effective semantic difference between an authentic object and its “exact” copy.
If two items are “identical”, by that very definition there is no difference between them, other than in the perversity of our biased sectarian culture.
When this cultural fad has passed, we will see the re-birth of beautiful masterpieces, today lost through the inevitable ravages of time and negligence. EDP (electronic data processing) technology is available. The technology to transfer the data to the surface to be painted is available (millions of chromatic shades can be reproduced). Data are gathered little by little through works similar to the one performed on the Last Supper in Milan.
What is lacking now is the vision and cultural courage to proceed.
But that will come, and in the not too distant future.

The challenge of the restoration
To give you an idea of the technical challenge of the restoration of the Last Supper and from the human point of view, I will translate the first two pages of the book by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon “Leonardo: L’Ultima Cena” (Electa, Milan, 1999). The book has recently been published in English and can be bought from Amazon for $82 (Australian).
“For centuries the knowledge of the Cenacolo (from Latin “cenaculum” the dining room in ancient Roman houses generally on the first floor of the house) has been suspended between the myth and the mystifying interpretation, amplified by the world resonance of the painting.
Everything, with the deeply innovative and stunning reality of the work, conjured to transfer in time the idea of the original. It is a known history: the truly qualified copies and the copies of the copies have rebuilt or have tried to rebuild the most celebrated composition; writings, essays, witnesses have repeatedly documented the situation of the Cenacolo, as in a dramatic chronology that reported the slow and progressive agony (death) of the masterpiece.
With Leonardo still living. the painting began its unstoppable decay according to what Vasari wrote in 1566 (“ nothing can be seen if not a glaring blob…”). This sentence also gives us the feeling of the magic light of that “atmospheric breathing” that still emanates from the painted wall and that we keep retrieving in the parts that survived the ruins.

The task and commitment in front of a painting such as the Cenacolo, that miraculously arrived to us with its little certainties and its many mysteries, border often with despair and a feeling of helplessness to get a step closer to the truth of this painter: “…the Lord of all things that can fall into the mind of man…” (Leonardo Trattato della Pittura pag. 9)
Scientific operation on this work is a privilege that implies a severe, steel-like discipline.
The experience has been a new one with each day, captivating, but always solidly contained within the boundaries of careful thoughtfulness, proof and constant consultation.The great “patient” has now been treated for more than twenty years: short terms cannot even be conceived. The work carried out in these years has brought positive results, but also showed us that many parts of the famous painting are irretrievably lost. We are gratified anyway by the many discoveries made during the patient work: the most important of all being the restitution of a precise painted text, carried out with the attention and care essential when painting on a board.
The daily diary of the work in progress supplies a precious data base and unique information, invaluable to all those who are now studying the matter in depth.

Objectives of the restoration
The objectives of the restoration were:
- To find and bring to light any original paint of Leonardo, cleaning the grime and the re-paintings of previous restorers. Where no original colour was detected through careful probing the paint of the restorers had to be left.
- Once the original Leonardo colors were found and freed from any repainting, a visual texture has to be re-constituted to allow readability of the figures and volumes.
- To eliminate condensation and the dynamics that determined it
- To protect and control the environment in order to reduce or eliminate causes of possible future decay (dust, grime, microscopic particulates, spores and fungi)The methods applied
The method applied by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon can be summarized in the following points:
1. Observation: The painting has been observed in detail with microscopes, lenses and special lights to detect whatever information could be detected visually: thicknesses, layers, type of scales etc.
2. Probing and testing: to detect the chemical composition of the layers, pigments, hardness, adhesion, and to ascertain if under the top layers any of the original paint was still in place;
3. Macro-photography: a survey has been made to document the situation prior to the beginning of the last restoration;
4. A complete layout of the cracks was made in order to control possible future deterioration.
5. Micro-probes to ascertain the type of plaster, preparation and priming throughout the wall;
On the basis of the knowledge acquired, the different operational strategies were then devised for the various specific situations “in the field”:
* Cleaning the grime, removing dust.
* Removing with light solvent the restorers’ re-painting.
* Removing with stronger solvent locally applied the harder glues and putties.
* .Re-building the readability of the figures and volumes with sepia tonal water colour on the voids (righettatura): Pinin’s great mastery.
Most part of the endless job was cleaning with solvents of different strength to eliminate the re-painting of the various restorers. The solvents were applied on leaflets of Japanese paper and patted delicately on the areas to lean. The size of the leaflets were approximately 10 x 10 cm or smaller
Where the paint or the fixatives (glues and casein putty) left by previous restorers were too hard. the cleaning was done by hand with small brushes, scale by scale, fragment by fragment.
Each specific spot had to be considered individually to devise the correct and consistent M.O.
From the objectives stated and the methods devised it was clear that the process would take a very long time.


The Book by Pinin Brambilla (see bibliography) gives a complete account of the restoration and through its plain and matter-of-fact language it is possible to perceive the drama and the tension of the life-long challenge.
This is the review of the book on the Boston Globe:

Leonardo, The Last Supper
Pinin Brambilla Barcilon and Pietro C. Marani

Leonardo, The Last Supper, translated from the Italian, is the definitive record of the recently completed restoration of Leonardo's great masterpiece in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
This book presents full-scale reproductions of details from the fresco that clearly display and distinguish Leonardo's hand from that of the restorer. With nearly 400 color reproductions, a comprehensive report of the project by chief conservator Barcilon, and an introductory essay by art historian and project co director Pietro C. Marani that focuses on the history of the fresco, Leonardo, The Last Supper is an invaluable historic record, an extraordinarily handsome book, and an essential volume for anyone who appreciates the beauty, technical achievements, and fate of Renaissance painting.
"The painstaking twenty-year project, directed by renowned restoration artist Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, removed centuries of grime, as well as the brush strokes of previous restorers who have been retouching the fragile painting practically since Leonardo finished it in 1498. . . . Preserved now by a sophisticated air filtration system and reopened . . . to the public, by appointment only, the Last Supper is reborn. Brambilla told reporters her work was a 'slow, severe conquest, which, flake after flake, day after day, millimeter after millimeter, fragment after fragment, gave back a reading of the dimensions, of the expressive and chromatic intensity that we thought was lost forever.'"
The Boston Globe
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/504271_christ.html
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/504271_philip.html
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/504271_john.html
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/504271_thaddeus.html

 

 

A diagrammatic history of the restoration sequence
diagrams by L. Matteoli

 

 

 

 


 

 

What is left
At the end of the long work of Pinin Brambilla Barcilon the results are clearly visible in a painting that has the luminosity and highlights that must have left the first visitors in awe five centuries ago.
The Book published (see bibliography) with the exceptional macro photos witnesses both the result and the incredible monumental 22-year long challenge of Mrs. Pinin Brambilla. Inevitably, there were critics and I collate here some of the echoes of the controversy. At the end are my comments on their exercise.

 

Restoration of da Vinci's Last Supper 'an affront to art lovers'
By Chris Endean in Rome
AFTER 20 years of bitter debate that has split the international art world, the public will deliver its own verdict this week on the controversial restoration of The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece. The 500-year-old wall painting, obscured by scaffolding for the past two decades, will be unveiled at the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery in Milan on Friday. Italy's minister for arts, Giovanna Melandri, has hailed it as "the restoration of the century", but a leading international art critic describes the finished work "as a forgery". Professor James Beck, who is a member of the art history department at Columbia University in New York, said: "To claim this is the original is pure nonsense. It's taking art lovers for a ride." Pinin Brambilla has spent two decades - seven times longer than da Vinci took to paint the original - peeling off layers of attempts to paint over the gaps in the famous picture. But, with 80 per cent of the original Last Supper missing after 250 years of decay and degradation, the restorer has also done some extensive repainting. Michele Cordaro, director of Rome's Institute for Restoration, said: "The public will see not so much a restoration of The Last Supper, but a conservation of what remains of da Vinci's original." Prof Beck said: "Nonsense. This woman has simply produced a new Brambilla. What you have is a modern repainting of a work that was poorly conserved. It doesn't even have an echo of the past. At least the older over-paintings were guided by Leonardo's work." According to Prof Beck, Miss Brambilla has gone as far as to fill in Christ's head, although not even da Vinci completed the figure. He said: "It looks silly. The mouth is peculiar and off-centre." Supporters claim that Miss Brambilla work has brought greater clarity and colour to The Last Supper: a group of dark and grimy figures gathered around a grey table. Miss Brambilla said: "Take Matthew. We always knew him with dark hair yet we discovered that he was blond." She also points to the exquisitely painted flowers, bread, glasses, knives and plates previously invisible but which now fill the table in front of the Apostles. However, Michael Daley, editor of Art Watch and a contributor to Art Review, has described Miss Bramble’s work as "simply catastrophic". He wrote: "The restoration has cut the painting's link with the past, reducing it to little more than a naked wall." Even Martin Kemp, Professor of History of Art at Oxford and a world expert on da Vinci, has questioned Miss Bramble’s decision to fill in the gaps with similar tones of water-colours. Prof Kemp, soon after the restoration began, said: "In The Last Supper, the amount of original work by Leonardo is very small." The leading Italian expert on da Vinci, Carlo Pedretti, recently likened work on The Last Supper to an archaeological site, with restorers digging through the past to excavate remnants of a once-great painting. Official criticism of a project that has come to symbolise the government's investment in state-of-the-art restoration techniques to conserve its rich artistic heritage is frowned upon in Italy. Mr Cordaro said: "I don't think Beck has even seen the finished product. Sixty per cent of the original is still there." Giulio Bora, an expert in Renaissance history at Milan University said: "No one could have worked better than Brambilla. After all, they've been trying to save The Last Supper since the mid-1500s." Da Vinci's refusal to follow tradition and paint the fresco on the monastery's refectory wall when its plaster was still wet meant that The Last Supper was cracking and peeling within his lifetime. By 1620, it was scarcely recognisable and the Spaniards unwittingly stuck a door in the middle of the wall. Artists tried a variety of techniques to restore the painting, from the use of oils and glue to stop it dropping off to a bizarre Twenties scheme to iron out creases. By the Fifties, over-painting was eating away at the original and doing more damage than a Second World War bomb that scored a direct hit on the monastery. Then, in 1953, Mauro Pelliccioli, a master restorer, appeared to have safeguarded da Vinci's creation with a glue-like substance that set like rock. But, in 1979, Miss Brambilla was given the go-ahead to chip away at the protective shield and get at the original. Prof Beck said: "Twenty years later, we are left with a perception of Leonardo's work that never was."
(Daily Telegraph London)

Who Owns Art?
Who Owns the Last Supper?
by Tibor R. Machan
Professor James Beck of Columbia University was steamed, at least back in 1995, when he expressed his dismay to "60 Minutes" about efforts to restore Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Today the job is completed and there are still folks who share Professor Beck's outlook.
What is at issue? I am no art historian, let alone an expert at art restoration. I understand, however, that there is a controversy about restoring famous works of art, mostly in Italy. The reason is that the precise composition of such paintings is rarely known. We know mostly that we do not know and, when that is the case, meddling becomes extremely risky. Professor Beck argued that in such cases it is best to leave things be, not to restore but to allow the work to fade away. He says it is better that it should die than that we should murder it.
Yet the city of Milan, which owns the work, disagreed and now the work is, for better or for worse, artistically speaking, restored and available for public viewing again. To this Professor Beck objected on grounds that the painting doesn't belong to anyone, "it belongs to the world," as he put it. Moreover, what seems to irk the good professor is that large corporations sponsor much of the restoration work throughout the world, especially in Italy where so many masterpieces are located and cared for. And that, to this professor (like to most others), is sacrilege. Corporations and art cannot mix.
What is puzzling in this attitude, apart from its blatant arbitrariness and prejudice, is its historical ignorance. All artists and thus all art has had patrons, mostly the rich and powerful. Indeed, in olden days, the rich and the powerful who sponsored works of art were sometimes rather brutal men. Corporations may be big but mostly they get their wealth from investors, not military conquests and colonial expansion. For my money, then, the latest patrons are by far preferable to the earlier ones.
What about Professor Beck's claim that the world owns the works? Frankly that's just nonsense. I certainly don't and I am included in this world. I go to museums and enjoy the privilege of viewing the works of great masters who sold or gave their works away so they came down in history for us to enjoy. But no, we do not own them. If we did, we would have come by them through theft!
So what does it mean when a famous professor from Columbia University declares that the major works of art in the world are owned by the world? My suspicion is that it means he wants to control what happens to them–on our behalf, of course! Certainly he wouldn't want the works to be managed democratically, by some kind of vote, nor individually, by each citizen of the world. It would be impossible.
No, Professor Beck and others, properly self-anointed, should be in charge, that is the most logical inference to be drawn from such a claim. And most cases of such public ownership amount to nothing less than some people invoking public ownership so as to accomplish a de facto personal expropriation. Just watch it. When someone claims that an ancient tribe or a certain people own a piece of land, look out. It is usually a way to expropriate the land, to gain control over it, to make the kind of use of it the person making this claim has in mind.
I do not mean that this is about deliberate fraud or even greed, not at all. Folks making such claims are probably convinced that they are saying something terribly profound and meaningful. It is just that they are wrong.
The world, contrary to the distinguished Professor James Beck, does not own The Last Supper, nor any other artistic masterpiece. In the case of The Last Supper the city of Milan is as close to its owner we can now identify. So we have to live with the fact that they will be deciding whether to restore it, among other matters. That is, of course, difficult for some people to live with. They cannot come to terms with the reality that they will be left out of controlling something they are so interested in. But a sign of maturity is to realize just that.
* * * * *
Tibor R. Machan teaches at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, CA, and is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
Dear fellow correspondents
local newspapers ran an annoying feature recently about the unveiling of Leonardo's Last Supper. The caption for a small front page photo in the Friday, May 28 Raleigh, NC News and Observer (from the Associated Press) says the work "took 22 years and drew many critics." As described in the before ("1982") and after ("today") photo captions on an inside page, "Leonardo da Vinci's grease- and grime-blackened masterpiece is no more. After years of scrubbing and scraping (sic), Italy unveiled "The Last Supper in its new lighter and brighter form." The caption includes comments from Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, who has overseen the work, and James Beck. It is said there's no such thing as bad publicity, but this sort of thing really makes me mad. A detailed technical report of the treatment is not appropriate in this popular press context, but I don't think "scrubbing and scraping" is an accurate description of the years of research and decades of work put into this project, or indeed into any conservation project. This sort of thing emphasises the need for AIC, conservation agencies, museums, and individual conservators to generate accurate and understandable positive information, and get it out there to the media and to clients and the public directly.
Janet W. Hessling (hessling@mindspring.com)
Statement by Pinin Brambilla after twenty years of work:
"The painstaking twenty-year project, directed by renowned restoration artist Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, removed centuries of grime, as well as the brush strokes of previous restorers who have been retouching the fragile painting practically since Leonardo finished it in 1498. . . . Preserved now by a sophisticated air filtration system and reopened . . . to the public, by appointment only, the Last Supper is reborn. Brambilla told reporters her work was a 'slow, severe conquest, which, flake after flake, day after day, millimetre after millimetre, fragment after fragment, gave back a reading of the dimensions, of the expressive and chromatic intensity that we thought was lost forever.'"—The Boston Globe

A final comment on the “critics” of the restoration
They are generally professors of History of Art, with no competence in dealing with restoration or conservation problems. When you have no administrative responsibilities or mandate to be accountable to, it is easy to suggest that the monument be allowed to decay, if restoraton seems impossible. If the proposal had to be considered seriously and not as a paradox it is criminal nonsense.
Even the idea that it would have been better to keep the vulgar re-painting by Bellotti, Mazza and Barezzi because they were “guided by the hand of Leonardo” (James Beck) does not make any sense at all and is a clear indication that whoever suggested it did not see the final result of the restoration. If he has seen it, then the remark is plainly dishonest.
G. Bonsanti in his article on the “Giornale dell’Arte” (see Bibliography) is correct when he writes that it is easy to criticise Italian monumental restoration projects (Sistine Chapel, Last Supper) because the fallout in free notoriety is huge. with no risk of libel suits involved. These people are not considered at all for their actual research and works, which is completely ignored, whereas their hysterical tantrums about the Last Supper are published all over the World.
The hundreds of thousands visitors to the painting in Milan since 1999 are the best witnesses to shame the sycophantic critics.

My personal conclusion
I think that the restoration was an almost unbelievable deed: it required conceptual rigour, enormous courage and a lifelong dedication, competence and skills, high technology tools, control and passion.
It was not only the restoration of a decayed painting, it was an archaeological project that gathered comprehensive information, both on the making of the painting and on the subsequent processes of decay and of maintenance, successful or devastating as they were.
The data recovered on pigments, colours, media, priming, preparation and plaster added to the original painted areas can in fact support the idea to produce a new plausible original or to “clone” the Last Supper. A “Clone” would be an original of Leonardo’s Last Supper produced through EDP, The term, quite appropriate to the concept, has been suggested by one of the students of the UWA Extension Course.
I proposed the idea to the Milan Soprintendenza ai Beni Artistici in the letter that I report as an appendix to these notes..
Considering the possibility that, in the course of the next ten to twenty years, even what has been recovered by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon may disappear, fall off, or irreparably fade, the data-base collected is a unique, invaluable asset.
Invaluable, unique assets sooner or later will be used.
When the present day unjustified elitist cultural rejection of “copies” will be a thing of the past and when the concept of a “plausible original” or of a “clone” of the original will be customarily accepted by an unbiased, commonsensical way of thinking, the gift of Pinin Brambilla will be fully appreciated and used for its incredible potential : to see again the Last Supper as Leonardo saw it, when he cleaned his brushes for the last time - and stepped down from the scaffolding.Appendix 1
Letter to the Milan Soprintendenza about the possibility to “clone” the Last Supper.

 

Lorenzo Matteoli
P.O. Box 732
Scarborough 6022
Western Australia

 

Dr.essa Ede Palmieri
Soprintendenza Per I Beni Artistici E Storici
Via Brera, 28
20121 Milano (MI) Scarborough 10.12.2004

Cara Dottoressa Palmieri,
This is to inform you about my thoughts after the long and lively conversation on the phone on Friday December 3rd (2004): I thank you again for the kind and patient attention and again I apologize for my technological “petulance”.
I have never dealt with restoration of paintings and my competence is limited to the interest with which I followed the works of the archaeology and restoration faculty members at the School of Architecture in Turin (Paolo Verzone, Daria Debernardi, Andrea Bruno) and one very specific experience with Adriano La Regina.
My interest in the “Last Supper” is the result of a study that I recently carried out to prepare a course on Leonardo da vinci for the University of Western Australia. Quite obviously I saw the painting in Milan last September.
And here are my thoughts:
1. The restoration carried out for over 22 years by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon is a basic conceptual and procedural reference of unbelievable value: cleaning, clearing most of the centuries old makeovers and abusive additions, recovery of original parts, integration with neutral “tone” effects to allow the perception of the figures and of the volumes. Control of ongoing decay processes, restoration of healthy environmental conditions of the wall and of the space so as to grant a long life to what had been restored: a practical and conceptual encyclopaedia of practices, methods, technologies, materials and procedures that covers the field from the philosophy to the grammar of restoration. A unique text emblematically supported by the most significant masterpiece of the Italian renaissance.
2. The restoration made available a wealth of data and knowledge the value of which goes far beyond the specific restored subject.
3. This potential almost naturally suggests the idea of using the data and the knowledge to “rebuild a plausible original” of the painting: a complex data processing system to identify through physical and technical deductions a way to define the colours and hues of the missing parts and of Leonardo’s painting touch and manual trait.
4. I believe that this idea is feasible even today, but could be rejected by the current philological restoration paradigm. The result could be qualified as an arbitrary “copy” of the painting. The peculiarity of being a “plausible reconstruction of the original” could be denied. On top of that present day technology and EDP means could be not yet mature jeopardising the end result.
5. But in 5, 10 or 20 years these conditions could change: EDP tools could be much more sophisticated and the technology to reconstruct a “plausible original” could become very reliable.
6. In the same time the process of decay of the painting as now restored, even if very slow, could progress (not taking into account more dire possibilities like earthquakes or crumbling of the wall): it does not seem completely unreasonable to think of a more or less near future when the original painting will have disappeared and all that will be left is the documentation produced by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon: macro photographs and other material physical and chemical data.
7. Also the present negative critical attitude towards “copies” could change. A radical rejection which is very peculiar to our time, but which is conceptually very weak if not completely untenable. Are we sure that the Samotracian Nike is not a copy of a previous original that was destroyed by some earthquake? Or that the Monna Lisa today in the Louvre is not a copy of the original made during the many adventures of the painting after the purchase by Francis the First (Fontainbleau, Versailles, Tuileries, Louvre) or a copy made by Yves Chaudron between 1911 and 1913 during the famous theft by Vincenzo Perugia?I think that strategic guidelines are needed to deal with this not so improbable future situation so that the possibility to rebuild a plausible original (or a “clone”) is set out and granted.
The physical archive should be prepared (spectroscopy survey) as well as the digitalisation of the macro photographic database: an expert could be helpful here.
As for the legal rights on the image the competent Authorities should organize the means to control that unauthorized third parties do not produce “plausible reconstructions of the original” for commercial or tourist exploitation.
A feasibility study on present day technical possibilities to produce “plausible reconstructions of the original” could also be useful to allow proper preventive measures. Maybe mine are just fantasies, but it is possible that they could be suggestive of some useful, practical decision.
I thank you for the attention and send to you my friendly greetings and the best wishes for the coming Christmas Season.


Lorenzo Matteoli