Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Adoration of the Magi has been returned to the Uffizi Gallery after a long and hard restoration of its original colouring that lasted 6 years.

The artwork had been removed from the Uffizi Gallery in 2011 and taken to the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure institute for restoration. Specialists were able to reveal the work’s colouring and also uncovered many details lying underneath the surface, and that the painting served as an experiment of the master for techniques he used on paintings he created later on. Marco Ciatti, supervisor of the restoration, said that the details which have been discovered will help specialists understand a lot more about Leonardo’s technique. Restoration was performed with the financial support of the Amici degli Uffizi (Friends of the Uffizi) association.

The artwork is Leonardo da Vinci’s biggest survivor panel. It was painted in 1481 and was housed at the Benci family’s properties in Florence, until it entered the Medici collections. It will now be on display once more, in an exhibition which started yesterday and will last until September, with the title “Leonardo da Vinci’s Magic Cosmos: the Restored Adoration of the Magi”.

The exhibition will also host another version of the same work, by Filippino Lippi, completed in 1496, showing how the two masters interpreted the theme each in his own way.

This is how the story goes: the Augustinian Friars commissioned the altarwork for the church of San Donato in Scopeto in 1481. However, da Vinci in 1482 moved to Milan and left it unfinished. He prompted the friars, however, to ask Filippino Lippi to create his version of the theme.

Uffizi Gallery Director Eike Schmidt, presented the restoration on Monday, stating that with the restoration the painting has gained light, depth, and new areas have been discovered.