Cosmetic restoration of David

March 1, 2004
Florence, Italy—In preparation for a U.S. tour, the National Museum of the Bargello used a laser to restore Verrocchio's David.

Florence, Italy—In preparation for a U.S. tour, the National Museum of the Bargello used a laser to restore Verrocchio's David. This was the first time the four-foot bronze sculpture has been restored since its creation in the mid-15th century. El.En, Italy's leading laser developer and manufacturer, provided the laser technology.

Bargello conservator Ludovica Nicolai conducted the restoration in collaboration with the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. A surgically precise Nd:YAG laser, adapted to work on stone and metal, removed centuries of varnish and dirt that covered the sculpture's surface. The laser penetrated to the level of the fine gold leaf gilding, which highlighted the sculpture's surface, without damage.

El.En. (www.elengroup.it) lasers have been used in other restorations throughout Italy, but the David restoration was significant because it alters the interpretation of the piece by art historians, reinforcing the theory that it is probably a portrait by Verrocchio of his most important pupil, Leonardo da Vinci.

In 2002, El. En. acquired a majority position in Cynosure Inc.(www.cynosurelaser.com) a Chelmsford, MA, developer, manufacturer, and marketer of laser technology products.

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