Dianne Dwyer Modestini, ’73, a member of the first graduating class of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, the forerunner to Buffalo State’s renowned art conservation program, has restored numerous paintings teeming with sentimental, historical, and economic importance.
One painting that an art dealer asked her to restore in 2005, however, held unprecedented significance and catapulted Modestini to star status in the art world. Over six years of painstaking work, including removing a clumsy repainting job, she discovered that Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) was created by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. The painting, estimated to be worth $200 million, shows Christ giving a blessing with one hand while holding a crystal orb with the other. It was the first da Vinci painting discovered in more than 100 years.