Cimabue Fresco Restored to its Original Glory

Cimabue Fresco, Located in Umbria, Italy, is a 13th Century Piece by the Florentine Painter Restored to its Original Glory.

Feb 14, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Cimabue Fresco
Maestà di Assisi.© Archivo Fotografico del Sacro Convento.


Cimabue Fresco, or a 13th century piece by the Florentine painter, has been restored to its original glory. This piece contains one of the oldest representations of Saint Francis. The Spoleto-based Tecnireco restoration firm oversaw the undertaking, which lasted for one year. Also, the company had assistance from Umbria’s Archaeology, Fine Art and Landscape Authority.


Cimabue Fresco Restoration

Cimabue Fresco
Maestà di Assisi.© Archivo Fotografico del Sacro Convento.


The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Umbria, Italy is the home for this piece. The fresco has a longer and a shorter-version name. One is Maestà di Assisi, and the other is Madonna Enthroned with the Child, Four Angels and St Francis. Many think Cimabue created the piece somewhere between 1285 and 1288. The artwork shows the Virgin Mary holding the crowned newborn Jesus, surrounded by four angels.


Also, there is a representation of St. Francis in the right foreground. Born in 1240, Cimabue was one of Italy’s earliest proto-Renaissance craftsmen to break away from the Graeco-Byzantine style. Also, he was Giotto’s teacher. Tecnireco repaired his frescoes in other parts of the church in 2019 and 2021. The last time Maestà di Assisi received maintenance was in 1973.


vasari portrait cimabue fresco lives
Portrait of Cimabue from Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, via Barnebys


Since then, the piece endured an enormous twin earthquake in 1997. Various frescoes in various portions of the church, as well as sections of the basilica, suffered damage. Under the direction of principal restorer Sergio Fusetti, the restoration project eliminated compounds and overpainting from the past. They are dark peices covering the work’s lustrous colors, applied in 1970s.

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Ferrari Funded Basilica’s Restoration

crucifix basilica domenico arezzo
Crucifix from Basilica of San Domenico in Arezzo, by the artist, 1268-71, via Web Gallery of Art.


Sergio Fusetti wanted to return them to their former state. For this, he utilised colourants found via technical evaluation. The Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer Ferrari provided all of the funding for the basilica’s most recent restoration effort. The company invested around €300,000. Ferrari has never before made an investment in a cultural rehabilitation initiative.


Its prior humanitarian endeavours included environmental preservation, health, and education. “The world of luxury that Ferrari inhabits has close ties with art and culture, so it felt natural for us to play our part in preserving an Italian masterpiece”, said Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna in a statement in 2022.


cimabue christ italian renaissance painting


On Friday, February 16, 2024, in the morning, the reconstructed fresco will be unveiled in the lowest church of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, followed by a press conference that is open to the public.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.