A masterpiece's renaissance: Raphael's 'Madonna of the Goldfinch' returns after painstaking 10-year restoration

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After 10 years of painstaking study and restoration that tested both cutting edge technology and human patience, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance is returning to the public.

Raphael's 'Madonna of the Goldfinch' is a survivor.

The 107 cm by 77 cm oil on wood, showing the Madonna with two children caressing a goldfinch bird, has outlived everything from the collapse of a house in 1547 that shattered it to the ravages of time and the mistakes of past interventions.

The result of the restoration is stunning. Centuries of brown film and grime are gone. The Madonna's cheeks are pink. Her robes are deep red and blue and one can almost hear the cascade of a stream in the background Tuscan countryside...

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