The Day The Bernini Angel Moved

In it’s own day this complicated beauty would be slated for destruction. Why?

This past week marked a milestone in the completion of a labor of love: the restoration of a Bernini Angel. When crafting bronze sculptures, Bernini would make plaster molds for the smelting process. As models for bronze pieces that framed the altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, these statues were not meant to be preserved and would generally have been burned if not, in this case, for a very famous creator. Molds like these are unique in construction, and  and therefore very difficult to care for. This angel, for example, was in some marked disrepair before the office was able to embark on its efforts to bring it safely back to display in a state or preservation.

The clay exterior hasn’t even been fired, so it is simply dried fragile dirt that makes up the piece. A hollow shell, the statue is more like paper than stone and therefore it is necessary to think of it from the perspective of a document restoration.

This piece is fascinating because it can connect directly to Bernini and how comparable artists worked in the 1600’s. It’s a map to show how they realized sculptures and how models were made. Again, because these were not meant to have a long life, there are very few left in existence. “That’s why they’re in this room of the Pinacoteca,” says restorer Flavia Callori, who runs the ceramics and metals laboratory. “They’re very important… [The Angel is] not only Bernini, but Bernini and his century, Bernini and his techniques. The most important thing is that Bernini worked on these statues, not the bronze ones that were made FROM these casts. So here you find the fingerprints of Bernini, you find his intention.”

Because of the support of our patrons – a glass laboratory workplace was constructed to address the unique needs of these pieces. Sealed in under optimum humidity conditions the Angel had to be approached carefully with great attention paid to the acidity of the materials used on the surface. A further consideration for this workspace was accessibility from the outside. By giving it a transparent walls, onlookers could see how the restoration is progressing, making it a kind of living museum piece. The head of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, is very pleased with the new workshop and hopes to use it in the future for large artworks including tapestries and paintings.

Says Ms. Callori, “We had to look in other laboratories where they have materials that are fragile, like paper. [The use of] Cellulose  is totally new. We saw it in the the laboratory of the paper restoration… and thought maybe we could use materials not normally used in clay, or metals.”

When the angel was finally restored, then began the arduous task of moving it. The hollow interior makes it vulnerable to cracking meaning that the process would be  extra labor intensive. An engineer was brought in to create a special base and then the Angel was slowly able to be moved into a new place.

And, just as the Kneeling Angel leaves the floor, another one of the same vintage, has been waiting in the wings to take its place. This next Bernini Angel will get the same loving treatment and be available to see on exhibition soon.

“We could not have done this without the New York Patrons,” said a restorer. Our thanks go out to them – with their support we are given an opportunity to salvage what otherwise would have been lost to history and at the same time to discover crucial information about Bernini and his process.

See the New York Patrons Office HERE.

Kneeling Angel in the glass laboratory workplace before it was transferred to the  Pinacoteca Gallery

Kneeling Angel in the glass laboratory workplace before it was transferred to the Pinacoteca Gallery

Head restorer of the project, Alice Baltera, with Bernini's Kneeling Angel

Head restorer of the project, Alice Baltera, with Bernini’s Kneeling Angel

 

The Director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci,  with the Bernini Angels

The Director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, with the Bernini Angels

The Laboratory

The Glass Laboratory

Father Mark Haydu’s New Book Meditations on Vatican Art: Angels

Get the follow up to Father Mark’s award-winning Meditations on Vatican Art:
What do the angels say to us?  Father Mark considers their expressions from an artistic height in his new book Meditations on Vatican Art: Angels.” See sample pages from his lovely book and learn more about what art says in the language of the angels. The chapters include beautifully rendered artworks as well as guidance for prayer and reflection. See the preview here.

This second book will be released November 1st, 2014 – Preorder here!

The Nativity by Ghirlandaio, 1492. Day 8 Reflection: Angels Join Us In Glorifying the Lord

The Nativity by Ghirlandaio, 1492. Day 8 Reflection: Angels Join Us In Glorifying the Lord

APLAR 5 Conference: Lasers and Art Restoration

Brochure from APLAR event giving details on the technology being used.The APLAR  5 Conference, which occurred September 18-20th, demonstrated  the further  role advanced lasers can play in the world of art restoration. Special thanks to our California, D.C., and Florida Chapters for their help in securing laser technology for the Vatican that is the envy of the museum community.  For more on the conference or to apply for abstracts see their website here.

See the full brochure here.

Wishbook 2015 Is On Its Way!

There are so many wonderful projects that need support. Which one inspires you? Our 2015 Wishbook is on the way October 1st with breakdowns of the upcoming restorations that are in the most urgent need of funding. See all the compelling reasons to connect with an act of preservation. Email your local Chapter Leader to see how you can get your hands on this hot commodity or you can learn more about these and other projects in our Restoration Needs section.

Watch Dr. Tim Gray’s Webinar on Art, Aesthetics and Religion, Online Now

 

Welcome to Dr. Tim Gray’s Lecture: Altar of the Aesthetic

Why does the Catholic Church take such an interest in the arts? How do the spiritual and material worlds mix in the creation of beauty? Did you miss Dr. Tim Gray’s compelling Webinar on Art, Aesthetics, and Religion? If so, don’t fret – for just a few more days, you can watch it at this link: http://augustineinstitute.org/pavm-live. Thank you to our Colorado Patrons for organizing this event!

Arizona Chapter Launch

Arizona Launches a brand new Patron Chapter! Those in Arizona have an exciting  opportunity to become a charter member of the newly formed state chapter. Are you interested or know someone who might be? They are hosting a special event for those who want to know more on Friday, October 10 at 7:00 pm at the Diocesan Pastoral Center – 400 E. Monroe St. in Phoenix.

If you have any questions, contact the Chapter Leader, Bradford Kidd. In the newly released interview,  he tells Phoenix Catholic Media about the new AZ Chapter of the Patrons Office of the Vatican Museums. See the full interview here!

To RSVP to the launch event, click on the following link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/patrons-of-the-arts-in-the-vatican-museums-arizona-launch-registration-12767037553

See our Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/703308669747826/

Georgia Chapter to Host Cocktail Reception October 5th

Attention Atlanta Patrons! The Dempseys have generously offered to host a cocktail party at their home as a get-together for present and prospective patrons.  Do you have a friend or family member who may be interested? This the perfect opportunity for others to learn more about what it means to be a Patron and be introduced to all the current wonderful members.


The reception will be on Sunday, October 5th from 6-8, for location and further details email Denise Mitchell: denisedm@bellsouth.net

https://www.facebook.com/events/712736412109033/

http://www.georgiavaticanpatrons.org/

Glorious Globes: Two 17th Century Painted Globes

Two Globes crafted by G.J. Blaeu (1571-1638) were transferred in the Paper Restoration Lab in 2008 to be painstakingly restored.  One is the globe of the earth while the other shows the 48 constellations as cited by Ptolemy. The two papier-mâché globes are covered in painted incised paper. See the pictures of the process needed to restore them here.

Blaeu was a student of famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, and made the artistry of globes and maps his whole life.  In 1599, he founded a printing press dedicated to the manufacturing of globes,  as well as nautical and scientific instruments. In 1625, he founded the Blaviana Office in Amsterdam, the official map maker for the Indian Company. His most famous work is the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus, published in two volumes in 1635 was reprinted many times until 1655. One interesting facet of the pieces, two globes were continually “updated” with copper as new discoveries were made.

In the Diagnostic Lab, the globes was analyzed through reflectography, photographic documentation with UV fluorescence, analysis of the pigments and stratigraphic analysis.  Restorers studied the components order to define typology and to identify the process and technique with which it was assembled. There are few documents about these globes, so they had to collecting information on other similar globes located in Museums in Bologna and Florence in order to track down the history of these beautiful works of art. Thank you to our California Chapter for helping us to keep preserve treasures like these.

Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums, in the restoration labs with the Blaeu Globes

Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums, in the restoration labs with the Blaeu Globes

Ohio Chapter’s Patrons of the Arts Annual Clambake

See what events are going on at our other Chapters. This October, the Ohio Chapter is hosting their their Annual Clambake!

When: October 5th at 4PM

Where: The Shoreby Club

40 Shoreby Dr, Bratenahl, Ohio 44108

Join the Ohio Chapter for great food, fun, entertainment and exciting raffle prizes!

Help them welcome their special guest, Fr. Patrick O’Neil from the National Office of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

RSVP by September 30th! 

Questions? Please call 440-498-1300
Or email vaticanpatronoh@aol.com


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Ohio Chapter’s Completed Project, “San Salvatore di Ossibus”

Look at what we can do! 2011 gave us the renovation of The Church of St. Salvatore of Terrione, known as “di Ossibus”. Thanks again to the Ohio Chapter members Mr. and Mrs. Dodero for all of their help in bringing this landmark back to life. Today this exceptional chapel houses a shelter directed by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. In the chapel of St. Salvatore they gain strength to joyfully serve the poorest of the poor with a soup kitchen that offers warm meals daily. See more specifics on the project here.

 

The Church of San Salvatore of Terrione, or di Ossibus in Vatican City

The Church of San Salvatore of Terrione, or di Ossibus in Vatican City

Restoration Process includes for the Paintings: - Re-adhesion and consolidation of plaster - Restoration of pictorial film - Cleaning of pictorial surfaces - Reintegration & touch-up of painting - Chromatic adjustment of the decorative scores - Restoration of marble - Photographic documentation

Restoration Process includes for the Paintings:
– Re-adhesion and consolidation of plaster
– Restoration of pictorial film
– Cleaning of pictorial surfaces
– Reintegration & touch-up of painting –
Chromatic adjustment of the decorative scores
– Restoration of marble
– Photographic documentation