Fabrizio Mancinelli, Sistine Restorer, the Vatican art official who oversaw the restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, died on Sunday. He was 54.
He underwent surgery several months ago to remove a tumor from his pancreas, said Gianluigi Colalucci, the Vatican's chief restorer.
Mr. Mancinelli was officially the Vatican's director of Byzantine, medieval and modern art and was responsible for its picture gallery. But he also was an authority on Raphael and Michelangelo, and he was appointed supervisor of the project to clean and restore the Sistine frescoes.
The project, financed by the Nippon Television Network, lasted 14 years. Its completion was celebrated with a Mass by Pope John Paul II on April 8, when the final section, "The Last Judgment," was unveiled.
A few art historians said the bright colors that emerged violated the somber spirit of the works and wiped away Michelangelo's subtleties. But Mr. Mancinelli vigorously defended his restorers' methods, even taking reporters up on the scaffolding to make his point. He held conferences on the project around the world.