Great Italians. Vittorio Granchi, master of the Florentine School of Restoration

Vittorio Granchi (Florence 20 October 1908 – 30 November 1992), born into a family with deep artistic traditions whose activity is known since the nineteenth century, was formed first in the workshop of his father Pasquale (1870-1930) a talented Florentine “artiere” specializing in “ancient imitations” and carved and gilded furniture and then in the ’20s at the Art Institute of Porta Romana in Florence under the guidance of Luigi Cavalieri and Giacomo Lolli.

His long artistic career, intertwined with that of the best known restorer, has been marked by awards and numerous exhibitions both in Italy and abroad. Vittorio Granchi’s paintings and drawings are now kept at the Modern Art Gallery of Palazzo Pitti, at the Academy of the Arts of Drawing and at the Uffizi Gallery.

Vittorio Granchi’s significant contribution, both for his methods and for the specific operations he perfected, is attested by the many interventions made on the paintings of the major Florentine museums and galleries as well as by the long list of restorations he carried out, which he documents. From 1934, when he was called by Ugo Procacci to join the team of the Gabinetto Restauri of the Soprintendenza alle Gallerie Fiorentine, he worked there until 1973, carrying out restorations considered historic, such as those, in the immediate post-war period, to Vasari’s tables in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio and the many of that hard operational moment following the tragic flood of Florence in 1966, which saw him the protagonist of countless “rescues” of seriously damaged works, among which stands out for “high surgery” (Umberto Baldini 1992), that on the Crucifix of Cimabue. This intervention, defined by the art historian Marco Ciatti, now superintendent of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, as a “Copernican revolution in the history of restoration” in its complexity, remains one of the references of the “Florentine School of Restoration” of which Vittorio was one of the leading exponents. This intervention earned Vittorio the Alinari Prize, which he was awarded in 1991 shortly before his death.


On 20 October 2008, on the occasion of the centenary of Vittorio’s birth, a study day was held in Florence with the participation of the Opificio e Laboratori di Restauro, the Soprintendenza, the Università e dell’Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, whose proceedings, edited by Marco Ciatti and Andrea Granchi, were then collected in a specific publication. In the same year, the Self-portrait with a Black Tie of 1931 became part of the “Collection of 20th Century Self-portraits” of the Uffizi Gallery.


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