As part of efforts to restore and conserve the works of art at the Cathedral under a programme initiated by the Department of Cultural Affairs in 2016, The Virgin with the Rosary (Italian School, sixteenth century, oil on canvas, 180x140x20cm) has recently been returned to its home.
The restoration work was carried out by Atelier2Restauration, a studio led by Florence Feuardent who holds a state qualification and is authorised to work for French museums and historical monuments. Several processes have been carried out over the last six months:
- a remedial conservation phase, with work on the support, the paint layers and the frame to stop progressive degradation and preserve the integrity of the piece;
- a restoration phase aimed at improving appreciation of the work and its aesthetic aspect.
Since the artwork is housed in a highly variable environment, it was deemed essential to protect it using a climate chamber. This was installed on the reverse of the existing frame and does not visually change the work, but isolates it from its immediate environment and protects it from the major factors liable to cause degradation, such as humidity and temperature variations. The construction and installation of the chamber was carried out by Atelier Gilles Tournillon, which specialises in cabinetmaking, art and restoration, and whose work is renowned within the art world.
Monaco Cathedral exhibits paintings, ten of which have already been restored including, in 2020, The Virgin with the Rosary, as well as two “organ doors” depicting saints (oil on wood).
It is worth noting that in parallel with the restoration programme for the Cathedral’s artworks, the Heritage Institute, which is part of the Department of Cultural Affairs, in late 2019 undertook a survey of the various sculptures on display in public spaces to identify requirements for restoration and conservation actions to be taken.