50 Years after the Flood, a Renaissance Painting Restored

The citizens of Florence have an exceptional reason to celebrate today, as one of the city’s most treasured artworks has been restored and is back on display. Hidden from view for the past 50 years to the day, The Last Supper (1546) by Giorgio Vasari has returned to the Museum of the Opera of Santa Croce in Florence after a decade-long conservation project.

Painted on five large panels, each constructed of several planks, and measuring over 8 by 21 feet, the painting was damaged in the disastrous Florentine flood of 1966 and considered beyond repair. Or, at least, that was the opinion of experts up until 10 years ago. With the support of a grant from the Getty Foundation’s Panel Paintings Initiative, a team of experts at one of the foremost conservation centers in the world, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD) in Florence, have brought Vasari’s artwork back to life.