Giotto Seen With Some of Original Splendor

FLORENCE, Italy, MARCH 16, 2010 ( Experts working on Giotto’s paintings of Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist have discovered some of the original splendor of the works thanks to ultraviolet light.

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The murals were painted around the year 1320 but suffered a series of damaging interventions, particularly whitewashing some 300 years ago, and then recovery techniques with harsh cleansing.

The result is that the murals in the Basilica of the Holy Cross are pale shadows.

When the restoration crews working in the church shined an ultraviolet light on the images, however, much of the original detail became visible.

Giotto is known for his contribution to art in his work with three-dimensional figures.

Under the ultraviolet light, details such as the wrinkles in St. John’s forehead became visible.

Since continuous exposure to the light would further damage the masterpieces, the team of art experts is hoping to create a digital image of the details revealed under the light, and thus give pilgrims the opportunity to see the «restored works» on large display screens.

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