Madonna of the Goldfinch shows its true colors

A recent restoration of Raphael's Madonna del Cardellino, painted in 1506, has revealed the brilliant colors of the original painting which had been hidden under centuries of grime. (Photos)

The poor condition of the painting was exacerbated by repairs to damage caused by an earthquake soon after completion. Says Marco Ciatti, who was in charge of the 10-year restoration, "When we unwrapped the painting and I saw it horizontal for the first time instead of on a wall I was actually filled with doubt. It was a wood sandwich: full of nails, glue and various layers of paint from other restorations carried out during the centuries."