Restoration of one of Caravaggio’s most famous masterpieces began in April 1997 when it was sent to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence as the Comune di Firenze had offered to restore it. The whole project, which was a major operation, was financed by the Opificio itself. Restoration works were completed in June 1998 and the painting was exhibited at the del Carmine church, Florence. The painting returned to Malta in June 1999.

Prior to this project, the painting had been damaged in an audacious attempted burglary in 1989.