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OCT 25, 2018


The grant will fund the conservation of the Botticelli and Ghirlandaio ‘Coronation of the Virgin’ altarpiece from the museum’s founding collection

The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, is the recipient of a Bank of America 2018 Art Conservation Project grant in the amount of $100,000. The grant funding will allow the museum to conserve a treasured work in the museum’s founding collection, the Coronation of the Virgin (c. 1492) altarpiece by Renaissance painters Sandro Botticelli (b. 1445, d. 1510) and Domenico Ghirlandaio (b.1449, d. 1494) . The work is one of over 500 artworks and artifacts gifted to the City of Miami Beach in 1964 by collectors John and Johanna Bass, founding The Bass Museum of Art.

The altarpiece painting Coronation of the Virgin is a significant collaboration between two of Italy’s most important Renaissance painters, Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. The Coronation represents the artists’ only known collaborative effort and the sole surviving example of their shared participation in the design and execution of a single composition. The painting’s three angels and the rest of its heavenly scene above are attributed to Botticelli, whereas the saints, monk and landscape below are attributed to Ghirlandaio. This work is one of two altarpieces originally placed in the monastery Camaldolese Badia of San Giusto and San Clemente in Volterra, Italy.

The painting suffered losses during the transfer process from the altarpiece’s wooden surface to canvas. Conservation will begin with technical, elemental and scientific analyses, as well as research, technical photography and cross-section sampling. Analysis and research will determine the means by which to reline and retack the canvas. Aesthetic treatment will include surface cleaning, varnish removal or reform, refining the most discolored areas of overpaint, and retouching and glazing to improve the design layer. A final varnish layer will be applied to protect the painting and even out its surface.

After conservation treatment, Coronation of the Virgin will be presented at the museum within a permanent collection exhibition, combining a selection of masterworks from the collection alongside contemporary art. In 2020, the painting will travel to Paris, on loan to the Institut de France, Musée Jacquemart-André.

“As an art museum, we are entrusted with both the honor and responsibility of acting as a custodian for art, caring for our collection and preserving its contents for future generations,” says Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Executive Director of The Bass. “I thank Bank of America for their commitment to the arts and their generous patronage towards helping institutions maintain and preserve their collections. We are excited to embark on the conservation of a truly important historical work of art and look forward to documenting the process in almost real time to share with our community.”

The Bass is one of 21 institutions and collections across nine countries to receive the 2018 Art Conservation Project grant, including Galleria Borghese in Rome, Kunsthaus in Zurich, Museo de Arte de Lima in Peru, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Tokyo National Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

“The Art Conservation Project was established nine years ago to help preserve cultural treasures throughout the world,” said Rena DeSisto, global arts and culture executive, Bank of America. “Today the program continues to provide a way for us to connect and celebrate people of many cultures, while giving them the opportunity to experience their own heritage in a manner that not only benefits their communities, but also the arts world at large.”

Since the Art Conservation Project began in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants for more than 150 projects in 31 countries on six continents to conserve paintings, sculptures, and archaeological pieces that are critically important to cultural heritage and the history of art. For more information, please visit the Art Conservation Project website.

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The Bass is Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum. Founded in 1964 by the City of Miami Beach, the museum was established after the donation of a private collection by residents John and Johanna Bass and opened in what was formerly the Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center, a 1930s Art Deco building designed by Russell Pancoast. Recognized for organizing the first solo museum exhibitions in the United States of international artists such as Erwin Wurm, The Bass has also presented major exhibitions by influential artists including El Anatsui, Isaac Julien, Eve Sussman and Piotr Uklański. The exhibition program encompasses a wide range of media and artistic points of view, bringing fresh perspectives to the diverse cultural context of Miami Beach. The Bass is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information, please visit www.thebass.org, or follow The Bass on social media at www.facebook.com/TheBassMoA or Twitter and Instagram via @TheBassMoA.

[Image: Coronation of the Virgin with Saint Justus of Volterra, the Blessed Jacopo Guidi of Volterra, Saint Romuald, Saint Clemens and a Camaldolese Monk, c. 1492. Oil and tempera on canvas, 106 x 69 in. (270 x 176 cm.) Collection of The Bass, gift of John and Johanna Bass. Courtesy The Bass, Miami Beach.]