The Polo Museale della Toscana (Tuscan Museum Authority) and iGuzzini have combined to make one of the greatest Italian Renaissance masterpieces “The Legend of the True Cross” shine again
The Tuscan Museum Authority
and iGuzzini today unveil - on the occasion of the Feast of St. Francis Patron of Italy - the new lighting system for the extraordinary Legend of the True Cross cycle
, painted by the artist Piero della Francesca between 1453 and 1459 in the Bacci Chapel of the Basilica of San Francesco.
An absolute masterpiece of Renaissance painting, the cycle illustrates some of the stories from the popular thirteenth century book, the "Golden Legend" by Jacopo da Varagine, an iconographic source that inspired many fourteenth century Tuscan and Italian artists. Scene by scene, the cycle narrates the legend of the wood used for Christ’s cross, from when the seed of the tree was placed in Adam’s mouth as he was dying to when the cross was won back from Khosrau by Heraclius and its return to Jerusalem. Landscapes dear to the artist, painted architectural structures and depictions of Arezzo perched on a hill and Sansepolcro with its buildings drawn in immaculate perspective and elegant, geometrical figures accompany the observer, scene by scene, as the artists tells his story.
“Being able to admire Piero della Francesca’s masterpiece and his ‘luminous painting’ shine again in all its crystal-clarity sparks an entirely new emotion, declared Stefano Casciu, Director of the Tuscan Museum Authority. And this is thanks to a lighting design that succeeds in simultaneously enhancing its forms, space and colour. We would, therefore, like to give our warmest thanks to our technical sponsor iGuzzini for this extraordinary result and its generous economic and cultural commitment that has enhanced Piero della Francesca’s masterpiece, and its long and complex restoration project. This project, one of the most advanced in Italy and the entire world, was conducted by the Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali e per il turismo (Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism) in collaboration with the leading experts in the sector, and was finally concluded after years of work in 2000. Nevertheless, it remains a point of reference for the conservation of wall paintings created with a mixed fresco technique and oil and tempera paints.”
The new lighting system - designed by the Architect Antonio Stevan and realized in collaboration with the Architect Rossella Sileno, Director of the Basilica of San Francesco, and of whom iGuzzini is technical sponsor – enhances Piero della Francesca’s bright, crystal-clear paintings thanks to the incredible versatility of the special Palco (62 mm diameter) luminaires mounted in the chapel on Low Voltage tracks. According to the new technologies, the older lighting appliances have been substituted by new ones that guarantee a reduced visual impact. This allows the visitors to enjoy the work’s splendid creative expressiveness. Thanks to the greater efficiency of LED source luminaires (with a colour temperature of 3500K), the project has also resulted in significant energy consumption savings of approximately 80%, as well as a significant drop in maintenance costs. All the luminaires have also been fitted with DALI drivers and control systems that allow various light scenarios to be controlled remotely and by different mobile devices, when necessary.
“We are extremely happy to have helped conserve and enhance the magnum opus of a great master with an exceptional sensitivity to light,” stated Adolfo Guzzini, President Emeritus of iGuzzini illuminazione. “With this project we continue our commitment to researching and developing solutions that can enhance sites of great spiritual, artistic and cultural value, like the Main Chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo”.
The new lighting system for Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross is part of iGuzzini’s Light is Back programme, through which the company actively helps to enhance and safeguard cultural assets, so the public can better enjoy the beauty of the world’s artistic heritage. The programme that was launched in the 1990s has recently provided lighting for masterpieces, such as the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs in Rome (2019), Tintoretto’s paintings at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice (2018), Michelangelo’s Pietà (2018), the Museum of the Dancing Satyr in Mazara del Vallo (2018), the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (2017) and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (2015).
Sogno di Costantino, Piero della Francesca