Gilding for Restoration: The Process and Value in Art

Gilding for restoration, involving the application of gold leaf on various surfaces, not only brings artworks back to life that have suffered the ravages of time but also enhances their aesthetic and historical value. Manetti gold leaf, known for its exceptional quality and a tradition spanning 400 years, is often chosen by restorers to ensure that each restored work maintains its majestic original beauty.

The Gilding Process in Restoration

Gilding is a meticulous process that requires precision, patience, and a deep understanding of historical techniques and materials. It begins with preparing the surface, which must be smooth and free of impurities. Subsequently, a thin layer of size (most ancient works are indeed made using the water gilding technique) is applied, serving as a base for the gold leaf. The Manetti gold leaf, renowned for its thinness and malleability, is then applied with care and mastery.

Material Selection: Fidelity to Original Techniques

In art restoration, material selection is crucial. Using Manetti gold leaf is not only a quality preference but also a commitment to fidelity to the original techniques. Restorers strive to use materials that not only approximate the original appearance of the work but are also compatible with historical production methods. Manetti leaf, now in its 15th generation, ensures that the restoration respects the integrity of the artwork, maintaining its historical and cultural value.

Longest-lasting Restoration with Manetti Leaf

The company history of Giusto Manetti Battiloro includes the restoration of the same artwork over four centuries of history. This is the golden ball of the Florence Cathedral, first crafted in 1602 by Matteo Manetti (2nd generation), and restored in 2002 using leaves from Giusto Manetti Battiloro (15th generation).

The Importance of Gilding in Restoration

Gilding plays a vital role in restoration, not only for its beauty but also for its ability to protect and preserve artworks. Gold, being an extremely stable metal, provides a barrier against moisture and oxidation, two factors that can cause significant damage over time. Furthermore, the glitter of gold adds a dimension of splendor, allowing restored works to shine with their original glory.


Gilding for restoration is a delicate art that requires not only technical skill but also a profound respect for the history and integrity of artworks. The use of high-quality materials underscores restorers’ commitment to preserving the beauty and historical value of artworks. As we progress into the 21st century, the tradition of gilding continues to be a fundamental pillar in the field of restoration, ensuring that humanity’s artistic heritage is admired and preserved for future generations.