Spain's Prado museum unveils restored Fra Angelico masterpiece


Madrid (AFP)

Spain's Prado unveiled Wednesday the restoration of "The Annunciation", a 15th-century altarpiece by Renaissance painter Fra Angelico ahead of the museum's bicentenary celebrations.

Experts worked for nearly a year at the Madrid museum to enhance the colours of the altarpiece, one of the best known works by the Italian painter and Dominican friar.

The central panel of the altarpiece depicts the moment in the New Testament when the Archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary she will give birth to Christ with the left side showing Adam and Eve's expulsion from Paradise.

"We have recovered the intense white light that evelops the entire composition, the bright and transparent colours of Fra Angelico," the chief restorer of the work, Almudena Sanchez, told AFP.

The cost of the restoration -- 150,000 euros ($169,000) -- was covered by donations from two patronage associations.

"The Annunciation" will be the centrepiece of an exhibition dedicated to works from the Early Renaissance which the Prado museum will hold from May 28 to September 15.

Spain's flagship art museum, which received 2.9 million visitors last year, is holding a series of special events and exhibitions to celebrate its 200th anniversary this year.

Its walls are lined with masterpieces from the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools, including Velazquez's "Las Meninas" and Goya's "Third of May".