Project Description

Madonna dello Zodiaco, Cosmè Tura, ninth decade of the 15th century ca.
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Restoration of the painting Madonna dello Zodiaco, Cosmè Tura, ninth decade of the 15th century ca.

Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Project Director
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Ditta Manoja, Rome

Maria Pia Bencini Bassani
Thomas C. Quick
Venetian Heritage

Start date
November 2022

End date
February 2023

41.824,00 €

Venetian Heritage supported the restoration of the Madonna Dello Zodiaco by Cosmè Tura, a leading figure of the Ferrarese painting movement of the 1400s.
The artwork, bought in 1896 by the Italian state for the Gallerie dell’Accademia, features an interesting inscription in the lower part which states “Sviglia el tuo figlio dolce madre pia/ per far infin felice l’alma mia” (Sweet pious mother wake your son up/ to finally fill my soul with contempt); this is an analogy between the infant Jesus’s awakening from his sleep and his future resurrection.
Other elements referable to the theme of death/resurrection are the bunch of grapes, recalling Christ’s blood and hence the Passion, and two goldfinches symbolizing the resurrection. The painting is named after the astronomical gold band displayed like an arch behind Mary, of which the signs of Aquarius, Pisces, Sagittarius, and Virgo are still distinguishable on the left.
Before the restoration intervention, the painting was in decent preservation condition; it was mounted on its original frame, which was highly deteriorated at the bottom due to a past attack by xylophagous insects that had been treated. The panel, appearing noticeably thinner, had a crack progressing slowly from the bottom to the top. In the months leading up to the restoration, there had been a worsening of this crack, leading to a minor detachment of the paint layer.
The purpose of the intervention was to carry out structural restoration of the panel, with particular attention to the unstable crack in the lower right area, the lunette, and the frame; as well as an aesthetic revision of the painted surface.