Radical Treatment of 14th &15th Century Fresco Cycle in the Camposanto, Pisa.
The Camposanto in Pisa has one of the largest fresco cycles ever painted.
Produced in the 14th and the 15th centuries, these frescoes were in a vast open courtyard and consequently they did not do well in withstanding the centuries. To make matters worse, in 1944 a bomb struck the building causing further havoc to the frescoes, which were then treated by teams of restorers. The actual paintings, many sections of which were fragmented, were then removed from their original surface and attached to canvas backings.
By no means are these frescoes in uniformly good condition, reflecting for the most part their own historical journey. However, in some cases, as in that of the most famous fresco of the group, the Triumph of Death by Buffalmacco, the works are in reasonably good condition and can be studied and enjoyed. The directorship of the Cathedral had the idea to restore the entire group of frescoes once again, cleaning and replacing them on new canvasses using plastic glue, so that they could be placed back in their original (outdoor) location. During the course of the ongoing campaign, local experts have complained about the harsh cleaning, to the extent that after the intervention there is practically nothing left to be seen.
ArtWatch International seeks a halt to the work until an independent commission can be called, in order to evaluate the work done so far and the feasibility of its continuation. As it now stands the results seem to be a muddle of fragments which essentially has little of the original paint left.