Carracci restoration in Rome’s Palazzo Farnese

Rome's Palazzo Farnese, home of the French embassy to Italy, has launched a tender for the restoration of its Carracci Gallery, a 17th-century baroque masterpiece.

The €1.2 million one-year restoration project, which is scheduled to begin in January, is a joint Italian-French project supported by of the World Monuments Fund, the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve our Heritage, and the French Orangerie Foundation for Individual Philanthropy.

The stucco and frescoes of mythological scenes were completed primarily by the Bolognese maestro Annibale Carracci between 1597 and 1607. Carracci was assisted in this task by his brother Agostino and several of their up-and-coming protégés such as Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco.

The large-scale project involves the restoration of the frescoes and stucco, and officials from the Italian culture ministry – which funded the project's €200,000 preliminary restoration studies – believes that the cleaning could reveal important clues as to which artists were responsible for various sections. The gallery's last restoration project took place over six months in 1993.

Palazzo Farnese has played an important role in Rome's history, politics and art, and over the centuries it has hosted countless diplomats, kings, artists, popes and cardinals. Construction of the palace began in 1517 after a design by architect Antonio da Sangallo the younger.

On the death of Sangallo in 1546, Michelangelo took over the project, modifying Sangallo's designs. When Michelangelo died in 1564 Giacomo della Porta oversaw work on the building until its completion in 1589.