Published  07/12/2006

Bargain basement futures

Bargain basement futures

Florence is still struggling to overcome the colossal damage created by the Arno flood of 4 November 1966. One of the greatest projects is the restoration of Giorgio Vasari's 'Ultima Cena' ('Last Supper'), a five-panelled masterpiece. The painting had been stored in the church of Santa Croce. This forms but one part of the one-third of flood-damaged works still as yet unrestored. Fortunately, Francesco Salviati's 'Deposition of Christ', dating from the late 16th century and 10 feet high, has now been completely restored, a task of some five years. The funds required to complete the 3,000 or so works still awaiting treatment, are, surprisingly, put at £350,000 which, in British and American art world terms seems modest indeed. In the meantime, numerous works are stored in the cellars below the Pitti Palace.

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