Madonna dei Fusi (‘Madonna of the Yarnwider’) is a spectacular example of Italian Renaissance painting, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. The aim of this study is to give an account of past restoration procedures. The evidence of a former retouching campaign will be presented with cross-sectional images obtained non-invasively with Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). Specifically, the locations of overpaintings/retouchings with respect to the original paint layer and secondary varnishes will be given. Additionally, the evidence of a former transfer of the pictorial layer to the new canvas support by detecting the presence of its structure incised into paint layer will be shown.
Imaging methods offer several advantages in the field of conservation allowing to perform non-invasive inspection of
works of art. In particular, non-invasive techniques based on imaging in different infrared (IR) regions are widely used
for the investigation of paintings. Using radiation beyond the visible range, different characteristics of the inspected
artwork may be revealed according to the bandwidth acquired. In this paper we present the recent results of a joint
project among the two research institutes DIMEG and CNR-INO, and the restoration facility Opificio delle Pietre Dure,
concerning the wide-band integration of IR imaging techniques, in the spectral ranges NIR 0.8-2.5 μm, MIR 3-5 μm,
and FIR 8-12 μm, for in situ analysis of artworks. A joint, multi-mode use of reflection and thermal bands is proposed
for the diagnostics of mural paintings, and it is demonstrated to be an effective tool in inspecting the layered structure.
High resolution IR reflectography and, to a greater extent, IR imaging in the 3-5 μm band, are effectively used to
characterize the superficial layer of the fresco and to analyze the stratigraphy of different pictorial layers. IR
thermography in the 8-12 μm band is used to characterize the support deep structure. The integration of all the data
provides a multi- layered and multi-spectral representation of the fresco that yields a comprehensive analysis.
The research is part of the pursuit for a comprehensive method of non-invasive diagnostic techniques for art. It involves conservators as well as art historians, since the specific techniques of the artists are regarded as the most interesting aspects of the new art history.