the Putto Reggifestone is by Raphael – The fragment of the fresco preserved at the National Academy of San Luca in Rome, the ‘Putto reggifestone’ is really a work of Raffaello Sanzio. This is what has been established by a study carried out with the support of the Patrons of the Borghese Gallery – Roman Heritage Onlus, an association chaired by Maite Bulgari. The important revelation in the art world closes a long debateor on the fragment precisely on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520), and excludes from an objective point of view the possibility of arguing that the painting is a false nineteenth-century.

The ‘Putto reggifestone’, traditionally attributed to Raphael even though it had never been scientifically proven, was donated to the institution by the painter, merchant and collector Jean-Baptiste Wicar in 1834, and is in many ways superimposable to one of the two figures who alongside the Prophet Isaiah made by Sanzio around 1513 in the church of Sant’Agostino in Rome.

Pico Cellini firmly supported the autograph, also referring to the testimony of Giorgio Vasari, who tells of a first version of Isaia that Raphael would have executed and destroyed shortly after. The result of the cleaning of the Putto, recently completed, has attested that the quality of the fragment preserved in the Accademia di San Luca was heavily compromised in its legibility by the alterations of the materials attributable to the restoration carried out in the 1960s.

The painting has today revealed an extraordinary pictorial quality, completely compatible with the technique used by Raphael in his certain works – a fact, this, supported by diagnostic and chemical investigations.

The study, restoration and enhancement project, conceived and curated by Valeria Rotili, Stefania Ventra and Francesco Moschini, former Secretary General of the National Academy of San Luca, involved an excellent interdisciplinary team of specialists: Paolo Violini, master restorer of the laboratory restoration of the Vatican Museums; Silvia Ginzburg, Professor of History of Modern Art at the University of Roma Tre, the nuclear engineer Claudio Falcucci and a team from the Department of History, Design and Restoration of the Sapienza University of Rome, coordinated by Marco Fasolo with the collaboration by Leonardo Baglioni.

This is a significant discovery that offers the scientific community and the public the opportunity to review and appreciate the technical mastery that in 1858, in front of this work, made the French painter Gustave Moreau exclaim: “The most beautiful drawing and the most beautiful gathered color “.



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