The portrait of Baccio Valori by Sebastiano del Piombo has been restored at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and it has been returned to the Palatine Gallery at Palazzo Pitti.
The exhibition presents the results of the studies carried out on the artwork during the restoration process. The study of the work has provided the opportunity for a further exploration of the figure of Baccio Valori, a Florentine who played a leading role in some of the decisive phases of the political history of Renaissance Florence.
A loyal supporter of the Medici faction, he took part in the siege of Florence, and immediately after the recovery of the city was appointed to the office of governor, which he maintained with a certain ferocity. When Alessandro de’ Medici came to power he served as an influential counsellor to the Duke, and after the latter’s assassination he supported the Florentine outlaws against the succession of Cosimo de’ Medici. He later fought in the battle of Montemurlo (1537), and was then imprisoned and condemned to death.
The restoration also offered the opportunity for further insight into the materials used by the artist, including the unusual support. The painting appears to have been the first of a series executed on stone that met with particular success, and which brought to light the artist’s indubitable claims to fame in terms of technical experimentation.
The Portrait of Baccio Valori was subjected to the diagnostic tests required to fully understand the materials used, the artistic technique and the pathologies in progress.