Titian masterpiece in Venice damaged by water after fire
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Last Updated: Monday, August 30, 2010, 21:36
Venice: A painting by Renaissance master Titian hanging from the ceiling of a basilica was damaged by water used to put out a fire that erupted near the church, local authorities told a new agency on Monday.

"For one hour I saw water drip from the painting" after the fire was put out late yesterday, said the head of Venice's museum agency Vittorio Sgarbi, who rushed to the scene after seeing the fire while having dinner nearby.

Workers have set up scaffolding to inspect the paintings closely and take them down from the roof of the church's vestry.

"The painting might have experienced some alteration, but nothing that can't be restored," Sgarbi, a well known art critic, said.

"We were very lucky," he added. The "David and Goliath," is one of the three paintings by the Venetian master hanging from the ceiling of the vestry of the Santa Maria della Salute basilica.

"A lot of water used to put out the fire in a nearby site came down on this area and pressed in particular against the 'David and Goliath'," Sgarbi said, adding that the water could have touched the other two paintings as well.

The painting depicts a scene from the Bible, with a young David raising his arms to the sky over the decapitated body of giant Goliath.

"This is Titian's most important ceiling," Sgarbi said, explaining that with the three paintings Titian was for the first time competing with his contemporary, renaissance master Michelangelo.

Tiziano Vecellio, known as Titian, was the most important painter of the Venetian school and died in Venice in 1576.


First Published: Monday, August 30, 2010, 21:36

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