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RESTORATION

Da Vinci masterpiece emerging in all its beauty

The Adoration of the Magi, an unfinished masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci, is beginning to reveal its full beauty after years hidden under layers of grime.

Da Vinci masterpiece emerging in all its beauty
Restorers are three quarters of the way towards completing the cleaning of the Adoration of the Magi. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Restorers working on the giant painting issued an update this week and revealed that they were three quarters of the way towards completing the cleaning of the huge (2.46m x 2.43m) tableau.

"The typical aerial perspective and atmosphere of Leonardo is already very obvious," said Marco Ciatti, one of the officials overseeing the restoration.

The painting was the work of the young Leonardo and he abandoned it when he left for Milan in 1481. It has been in the hands of a Florentine laboratory since 2011 awaiting the start of restoration work that was preceded by a year of preparatory research.

"Elements that could only be seen via infrared are now visible to the naked eye," said Ciatti, adding that the restorers were now much better able to understand how the artist had composed the work.

After the restoration of the painting is finished, the team will start work on the cracked frame with the aim of having it hanging in Florence's Uffizi Gallery by the end of 2015.

SEE ALSO: Vatican Museums chief in art deal probe

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SYRIA

Italian restorers fix Palmyra artefacts destroyed by Isis

Sculptures salvaged from the national museum in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra after it was destroyed by the Islamic extremist group, Isis, in 2015, are being restored in Italy.

Italian restorers fix Palmyra artefacts destroyed by Isis
The busts will be returned to Syria towards the end of February. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

After a complex cross-border mission, the two funerary busts are now temporarily in the hands of restorers in Rome.

Both artefacts, from the 2nd-3rd century AD, were damaged by hammer blows by Isis militants as they captured the city in May 2015.

The museum’s chief, 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, was beheaded by the extremists as he tried to protect the site’s treasures in August of that year.

The two busts, a male and a female, were brought to Rome as part of an agreement between Incontro di Civiltà (Meeting of Civilisations) and the Directorate of Antiquities in Damascus.

The female bust is being restored fragment by fragment, while sophisticated 3D print will help restore the aristocratic features of the male one. Until recently, they were on display at an exhibition at the Colosseum.

The artefacts will be returned to Damascus later this month, where they will be stored in the vaults of Syria’s central bank.

“In my memory, there hasn’t been another case where sculptures which escaped a theatre of war have been restored in another country and then returned. It’s a small miracle,” said Francesco Rutelli, the president of Incontro di Civiltà.

Isis controlled the city until March 2016, when it was forced out by pro-Syrian government forces. But the group managed to recapture the city in December.