Considered to be one of the absolute masterpieces of Italian goldsmith’s art, some important pieces have been discovered at Lusignano (Arezzo), known as the ‘Golden Tree of Lusignano’. One hundred years after the theft in 1914, the recovery of some elements considered lost was made possible by the collaboration of the Carabinieri unit for the protection of Florence’s cultural heritage.
Claudio Mauti, commander of the TPC division, explained that “the finds were four plaques in gilded copper and enamelled silver, 16 votive offerings in silver, once placed in the basement, a miniature on parchment and rock crystals on the ground.” The work represents the mystical Lignum vitae and is 2.7 meters tall. For the church of San Francesco in Lusignano, begun in 1350 by an unknown fourteenth-century master and completed in 1471 by the Sienese goldsmith Gabriello d’Antonio. “Between 1927 and 1929, several pieces of wood cut into pieces by thieves to facilitate transport were found – by the Superintendent of the Provinces of Siena, Croceto and Arezzo, Gabriele Nanetti – in the countryside of the municipality of Sarteino. In the Province of Siena, they were hidden by thieves. At that time the restoration was entrusted to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and Completed in 1933. The present discovery required the restoration of a restoration carried out in the 1930s and was interpreted as the occasion for a total restoration.
The tree, which now consists of about sixty parts, will be removed in blocks. The intervention will not be simple, first of all, due to the diversity of different materials, metals (gilded copper and silver), luminous parchment, rock crystals, coral, enamel and wood. The culminating moment of the restoration will be marked by the transposition of the restored elements – says the curator of Opifio Emanuela Dafra.
According to reports, the renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of next spring.
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