Thanks to the support of the Northwest Chapter, and that of Mr. & Mrs. Altig, we have been able to reach the very end of a restoration for one of the museums most beautiful pieces of statuary.
Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822) is one of the most important Italian sculptors of all time. His masterpiece, this Perseus, (finished in 1801) is characterized by classical beauty and a return to renaissance line and posing. The demi-god hero is seen here brandishing the severed head of Medusa, while wearing the helmet of Pluto (which had the power of invisibility), the winged sandals of Mercury, and the diamond sword given to him by Vulcan.
Pope Pius VII not only purchased the glorious statue, but later gave Canova the coveted title of Inspector General of Fine Arts securing his immortality. His Perseus was even displayed on the pedestal of the great “Apollo of the Belvedere” which had been taken to France following the Treaty of Tolentino. It had been the weight, proportions and expressive character of the Belvedere Apollo which had inspired Canova to create Perseus in the first place – so this was a fitting tribute to a great work of art.
While restorations on the statue are complete – It is, however, this pedestal which requires the most attention and has slowed the process of getting him back to display. Because of the dynamic rotation and angle of the sculpture’s weight, lead restorer Andrea Felice had to reconstruct the base. This newly designed pedestal enables our hero to remain stating even in the face of vibrations from possible earthquakes.
Look out for more information on Perseus and when he will be back on full display in the Museums. For now, you have to be a patron to see him!
May 1-May 7th, 2015 (optional Rome extension May 7 – 10)
Cabins aboard our 2015 Mediterranean Cruise have been filling up! Sign up to join us on deck by February 13th to secure your passage. Click here for more details.
Reunite with The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican this Spring with the trip of a lifetime! Book PAVM’s May 2015 Mediterranean Cruise. Current prices valid thru February 13. Limited availability!
The cruise will visit the gems of the Mediterranean– leaving from Barcelona and visiting St. Tropez with an optional extension in Rome. Talks and guided tours are given by an art expert from the Louvre and the trip even includes a private after-hours tour of the Prince’s Palace in Monte Carlo. The Rome extension also features an exclusive tour of the Sistine Chapel. This is a singular travel experience you won’t forget!
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When Cardinal Sfondrati excavated beneath the altar at St. Cecilia in the fall of 1599, included in his discoveries were the body of the Saint as well as relics from other martyrs and popes. The most sacred of these were reconsecrated in the ground under the altar, however many pieces were transferred at the time to repurposed and beautifully adorned silver vessels. These have been painstakingly restored thanks to the support of the Ohio Chapter of Patrons and work by restorer Barbara Pinto Folicaldi.
It is interesting to note that the silver bowls and cups used to house these religious relics were originally “profane” in origin and likely domestic pieces that would have been used at an official banquet. However, they were so treasured, that in the hands of craftsmen in the 1600s these were consecrated and adorned with religious symbology to be made appropriate resting places for the ashes of sanctified relics.
These pieces were then in the custody of St. Cecilia until the early 20th century when they were brought to the Vatican Museums.
The Profane Museum, founded by Clement XIII in 1761 was the first gallery in the Vatican dedicated to the display of the ancient “profane” pieces. These included pagan art as well as “domestic” instruments (cameos, ivory, rock crystal and small bronzes). The museum underwent a large overhaul when a new entrance was constructed and many pieces were given a course of restoration at that time thanks to the efforts of the Michigan Chapter.
Pieces depicted in the video include works from the 2nd to 5th century, many from Roman houses and some amazing artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the 1700s several of these pieces, that had been part of a large collection owned by Cardinal Carpegna, were repurposed and adorned with golden appointments by the artist Valadier .The preserved state of these artifacts is amazing! Let restorer Claudia Legga walk you through these meticulously restored pieces. Again, many thanks to the Michigan Chapter for their support in this effort.