The Italian Renaissance painter Raphael's masterpiece, Madonna del cardellinor, or Madonna of the Goldfinch, that survived the collapse of a palace and more than four centuries of decay, reached the completion of a ten year restoration process, and on October 30, 2008 was returned to the Uffizi gallery with a strengthened canvas and its colors restored to their original radiance.
Raphael painted this work around 1505 for the wedding of his friend Lorenzo Nasi, a rich merchant in Florence. When Nasi’s palace collapsed in 1548, the painting was shredded into 17 pieces. The work was first put together with pieces of wood and long nails, and it later developed a yellowish opaque color. For centuries restorers were afraid of touching it because it was so fragile. Restoration began in 1999 using X-rays, microscopes, and lasers to find and seal the ancient fractures.
The painting features a seated Mary with John the Baptist passing on a goldfinch to Jesus as a forewarning of his violent death. The bird has been associated in art with Christ's crucifixion.