Basilica of SS Giovanni e Paolo, Stained Glass, 1977-83, Painting, 1984-85


Several of the private committees financed repairs at the great medieval church of the Dominicans, founded in 1246. Venice in Peril has undertook the restoration of the stained glass window in the south transept (1977-83) and the painting by Lorenzo Lotto nearby (1984-85). The Gothic stained-glass window is to designs by well-known artists of the 15th century, including Bartolomeo Vivarini and Gian' Antonio Licinio. Work on the window began with complete photographic coverage of each panel inside and out. Tests were carried out in collaboration with English experts in Canterbury and with the experimental glass laboratory on Murano, investigating the humidity, physical pressure, air pollution and variations in temperature in the church, as well as previous cleaning and protective techniques used on the window. Serious problems were revealed, including the detachment of the grisaille layer and the blackening of protective varnish. It was discovered, however, through the analyses that pollution was not the cause, but aging. The glass panes were dismantled, the colour layer was fixed and then dirt was removed from the glass under a microscope. When replaced, it was not necessary to provide a protective layer against pollution, just a net outside to prevent footballs damaging it. The painting by Lorenzo Lotto required the removal of discoloured varnish, which revelead the colours of the original work.

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