Thursday, March 6th, 2014, the Texas Chapter hosted Patrons and guests to a special evening at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH). The event started out with a private tour of the MFAH’s current exhibit, “The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.”
This exhibit is very unique in its kind—it is not often that nearly an entire museum collection (in this case, a rich ensemble of 73 paintings by 25 artists spanning 70 years from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts) can travel the world. However, the Institute took advantage of their museum’s three year construction period to loan their fine art, showcasing the great French paintings of their “patrons,” art collectors Sterling and Francine Clark, at museums in Milan, Shanghai, and, at present, Houston. Texas Patrons and friends were an appreciative audience, particularly fortunate in their ability to view the spectacular exhibit on a private tour, where they encountered and learned about works by some of the most esteemed French painters of the Impressionist canon, from Monet, Renoir, and Degas to Gérôme, Millet, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Despite the event’s emphasis on French painting, the focus changed to Italy by the end of the night, as the itinerary for the Texas Chapter’s upcoming group “Pilgrimage to Italy” was revealed at the following reception. This special group trip, taking place in late October 2014, will include exclusive tours through sites in and around the Vatican (from the Coliseum to the Swiss Guard Barracks), beautiful masses at major basilicas of Rome as well as intimate chapels within the Vatican, and even a day trip to Castel Gandolfo. The news was well received by Patrons and inspiring for guests in attendance. We share in this enthusiasm; here at the Patrons Office, we are all very excited to host the Texas Chapter in October!!
March 14, 2014 (Chicago)—On Thursday, March 6, 2014, the Associates Board of the Illinois Patrons of the Art in the Vatican Museums hosted their debut event, “Patrons First Night Out.” Held at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in Chicago’s famed Gold Coast district, the multi-generational event attracted over sixty guests including potential young professional members and long-standing patrons.
The Illinois Chapter Associates (Junior) Board was formed in 2013 to raise awareness of the Patrons’ mission and foster membership among young professionals (aged 35 and under). Board members include John Collins, Chairman; Morgan Henington, First Vice Chairperson; Liz West, Second Vice Chairperson; Lauren Brinati, Treasurer; and Chrissy Walker, Secretary.
“The ‘Patrons First Night Out’ event was instrumental in establishing the Associates Board and generating interest in Associate level membership,” explains Anne Shea, president of the Illinois Patrons. “By nurturing a young professional membership base, the Patrons can plan for successive restoration projects and facilitate the future sustainability of the organization and its mission.”
“We are thrilled with the reception that our first event received,” says John Collins, Associates Board chairman. “With the help and expertise of the Illinois Patrons Board, we were able to jump start the Associates, attract new members, and spread the word of the Patron’s mission. We’re now looking forward to hosting our first Associates new member event in June.”
-Anne Shea, IL Chapter President
The Prima Porta Augustus is a 1st century white marble portrait statue of the Roman Emperor Augustus, regarded not only as one of the most important pieces of the Vatican Museums’ collection but also as one of the most iconic sculptures in the entire cannon of Art History. Because of its importance, the Vatican wishes to share it with the rest of the world; in fact, the Prima Porta is currently being prepared for a trip to Paris, where it will be on display in an exhibit at the Grand Palais.
The statue has recently been restored to its fullest splendor by the Vatican’s Marble Restoration Laboratory, thanks to the generous support of our Patrons from the Florida Chapter, but there are still many other preparations and accommodations to be made before it is able to travel. One of the most important things to consider is the journey itself and all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the work while in transit.
Currently, in Vatican Museums, one of these precautions is being taken via the application of new technology: small mechanisms, which function to monitor even the slightest movements and vibrations, have been installed directly onto the statue to ensure its safe journey. These photos illustrate their attachment to the Prima Porta Augustus, as their small grey parts can be seen on the figure’s shoulder as well as on its extended wrist. These will record any and all movement undergone during the statue’s transport. Additionally, the platform upon which the sculpture stands has been restored and provided with a new system that absorbs any vibrations and prevents the statue from undergoing damage in such an event.
After several meetings, the Vatican’s Restoration committee decided to move the statue in a lorry, tightly secured in an appropriate container, fit with a “cage” to hold the Augustus. The driver of the lorry will be “connected” to the Prima Porta by a display indicating the vibrations and the condition of the marble.
It sounds like the Prima Porta Augustus is going to have a great and safe journey to France!