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A Copy of The Annunciation by Guido Reni 1575-1642)

Father Edmund 

10 September 2023

You may recall back in the New Year, I shared with the parish the desire to have restored a beautiful but significantly damaged painting in the patrimony and heritage of St Mary of the Angels: a copy of a work by the artist Guido Reni of The Annunciation. The painting was entrusted to a restorer to begin the long and careful work of repair, cleaning, retouching, and varnishing. Here are some photographs of the damage and the repairs and cleaning that Vanessa, the conservator, has achieved so far.

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The tear (left) seemed catastrophic and beyond any possible repair, but a repair has been made possible due to Vanessa’s skill and expertise, the area highlighted with the blue box (above).

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Guido Reni: The Annunciation
One can see (above, left) the dullness of the painting, covered in years of dirt and grim, soot and even tobacco stains that have adhered to the surface. When the surface layer is cleaned, one can see how bright the colours are when the dirt is removed (above, right). Even more striking is the picture (lower, left) showing the cherubs and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, and the line demarcating the cleaned section (left) and the remaining tarnished section (right). I am sure that this beautiful painting once fully repaired, restored, and revarnished will be a treasure for the parish and people of St Mary of the Angels for many years to come. When the painting is returned to us, I propose we have a special Mass at St Mary of the Angels and copies printed for people to keep at home, too.

Where to display the Painting?

I would be grateful to parishioners for suggestions of where best
to display and hang the restored and reframed painting when it is
returned to us. It would be wonderful that it could take a
prominent position in the Church and perhaps to be able to have
votive candles lit before it as a focus for devotion and prayer. At
present, you’ll notice the canvas print copy is displayed beyond
the Altar on the Sanctuary. I am not sure the restored original
would be best placed there. Please let me know of any
suggestions. The restoration will likely take another few months,
yet, but perhaps in time for Christmas, God willing.

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