Preserving ancient works of art is not an easy feat. Paintings, frescoes, and mosaics need constant preservation and care from restorers. and when it comes to artworks made of wood, preservation is even harder. Wood is subject to water infiltrations, humidity, and decay. The recent restoration of a 14th-century wooden crucifix in the Italian city of Siena shows that faith, passion, and talent can help keep Catholic heritage alive through the centuries.
Siena was famous for painted wooden crucifixes in the 14th and 15th centuries. Wooden crucifixes were remarkable for the complex carpentry involved and for their Gothic traits, such as five-pointed stars and molded frames. One of the most striking wooden crucifixes to be produced in the 14th century was made by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, a Sienese painter active between 1317 and 1348. Lorenzetti is known for his work “The Allegory of Good and Bad Government,” currently displayed in Siena’s former city hall building.
As explained in a press release by U.S. non-profit organization “Friends of Florence,” which provides financial support for restoration projects, the crucifix was painted while Lorenzetti was influenced by the style of Gothic master Giotto. It is an emotional artwork that strikes viewers for the vivid depiction of Christ’s body.