Saint Catherine in Prayer, restored 2008

Saint Catherine in Prayer

The titular saint of Nelli’s convent at Last Super Museum of Andrea del Sarto, Florence. Nelli and her school produced several Saint Catherine images, as the learned holy woman was patron of her convent. The San Salvi painting is Florence’s largest work on this subject. The painting was so damaged that the project curator, the Palatine Gallery’s Serena Padovani, initially doubted the potential effectiveness of the restoration. Happily, over the course of two years, Saint Catherine in Prayer was restored to its original dignity. During the restoration process, conservator Rossella Lari noticed that the saint’s gaze was turned upwards, looking intently at the blackened clouds. Surely, there has to be a source of Divine Light hidden somewhere under all the paint and grime? The painting was cleaned for months to remove the dark patent a previous restorer had used to repaint the clouds. Finally, there among the slowly whitening clouds, a tiny strip of yellow light appeared, giving new meaning to the entire image. Oil on wood panel. Dimensions: 145 x 235 cm.