Renaissance Masterpiece Warped by Intense Italian Summer Heat

Italy is country well known for being a warm, sticky place, especially in the summer months. The summer heat can often make many of us feel as though we are melting, but unfortunately, this is just what has happened to a famous painting at the Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy.

The famous masterpiece named simply, Deposition, was painted by renowned Renaissance artist Raphael in 1507 and depicts the Christ being carried down from the cross. Even though the artwork has survived for over 500 years, it seems that faulty air conditioning systems in the Rome gallery have caused the painting to warp in the Italian heat. The warping of this painting is just one of many worrying complaints concerning the maintenance and care for several other of Italy’s ancient wonders, including Pompeii and the collapse of a large part of Nero’s palace in 2009.

Unfortunately, this is an occurrence that could perhaps have been prevented. The gallery director Anna Colvia has in the past brought attention to the fact that the air conditioning system was “completely worn out”, having not been updated since 1997. In spite of the fact that Ms Colvia had resorted to alerting the Italian press about the problems with the air-con system, these claims were later dismissed by Daniela Porro, Rome’s head of museums and despite her efforts, her calls for help were consistently ignored by fellow staff members.

Staff at the Borghese gallery have made attempts to save the painting, placing it near open windows and placing de-humidifier systems close to the painting in the hopes that it would reverser the effects of the heat and straighten itself out. According to Colvia, these efforts have had at least some effect as thankfully the damage that affected the painting has been undone. One positive consequence of this event is that it has drawn the staff’s attention to the need to cool down the other artwork in their care, and the air conditioning system is slowly but surely being updated.

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