Wooden bust of Ecce Homo

_0002.TIF inv 44937

Inventory Number: 44937

This polychrome wooden sculpture depicts the bust of Christ with his arms crossed in front of his chest, his beautiful face gaunt with his distinctively sharp cheekbones. Christ’s physical appearance recalls the Byzantine tradition with big eyes, a straight nose, long hair parted in the middle, and a mustache and beard that is divided into two strands on the chin. A large purple robe is draped across his chest and is thrown over his shoulder. The crown of thorns, tilted to one side, weighs heavily on his head. Drops of blood litter his forehead and the rest of the bust. This image represents a particular moment of the Passion, relayed in tragic detail in the Gospel of John. Accused of having proclaimed himself the King of the Jews, Christ is delivered to the Roman procurator of Judea, Pilate. Pilate, believing him to be innocent, did not want to sentence him to death and instead subjected him to flogging. The Roman soldiers beat, insult and mock Jesus, dressing him as a king in a purple robe and a crown of thorns. Thus attired, wounded and bleeding, Pilate reveals Jesus to the crowd proclaiming: “Behold the Man “ (John 19: 5). But the crowd continued in its determination to accuse Jesus. Then Pilate, washing the blood of the innocent from his hands, turns Jesus over to the Jews. This bust of Christ is notable for its naturalism.

Christ’s torso is carefully formed and his muscles softly built. The position of his arms sug- gests that his wrists are tied together with rope, as is frequently shown in other wooden sculptures of the same subject. The sculptor accentuates the bloodiness of the Passion of Christ, while capturing  the  subtle  melancholy  that  reveals Christ’s serene acceptance of his fate. Christ’s downward gaze involves the viewer emotionally in the scene, drawing attention to the wounds the artist so carefully rendered. The sweetness of the facial features and the fluidity of the bust’s soft naturalism indicate that it is the work of an unknown sculptor from central Italy, perhaps between Umbria and Marche, in the early decades of the 16th century. Statues of this kind are deeply tied to the Passion and were mainly used during Lenten processions on Good Friday.

Father Mark Speaks at Leadership Conference in Napa, California

Fr. Mark was asked to participate in the prestigious Napa Institute Conference this year where he will be presenting two lectures: one on “Evangelizing through Beauty” on Thursday, July 30 at 5:30 pm and a second on “Beauty and Prayer” on Saturday, August 1 at 2:10 pm.

The conference features around 400 members of Catholic leadership from around the world, and runs from July 29 – August 2. The themes this year will be The Family, Catechism of the Catholic Church and Reason & Faith. We are so proud that Fr. Mark was chosen to present along with so many other Catholic luminaries – for a complete schedule of conference events click here.

Congratulations to Fr. Mark for this honor and we wish him the best in his presentations. If you are interested in attending there are still reservations available at: http://napa-institute.org/conference/

Next year’s conference is already in the works for July 2016 – for more information on that and other events see the Napa Institute’s website.

11194411_920508478012500_7547381575599807879_oFor more on 2016: see this link.

Our Summer Newsletter Is Here!

From restorations of ancient sarcophagi, to the delicate texture of a Chinese Bridal Dress, to the most cutting-edge technology available, the newest issue of the Patrons’ newsletter runs the gamut. Along the way we celebrate the generosity of our patrons and what incredible work their support has allowed us to achieve.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.17.01 PMBeautiful images augment the stories of our work from the past several months. Updates on the work of many of our specific chapters are highlighted and the issue features a behind-the-scenes interview with one of our most accomplished conservationists, Stefania Pandozy. In addition, there is an update from Mary Angela Schroth regarding the fanfare that accompanied the inauguration of the restorations at the Chapel of S. Lorenzo at the Holy Stairs – one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world.

A letter from the Director, Fr. Mark Haydu, frames our spring and summer, outlining our most recent accomplishments and giving glimpses into our future aspirations. Speaking of future facing, we have a piece on a new patrons based mobile application, Patrum. The free app for art lovers allows patrons to create a profile that gives them targeted art news based on their preferences. It also provides users with instant updates, exclusive content, and the ability to communicate within a community of restorers, fellow patrons, and anyone who is interested in the Vatican Museums collection. Please take a moment to download the app and let us know what you think!

When you have a chance, we invite you to piece through our publication and enjoy all the photographs and features. Also, please take a moment to take a look at photos of some of our newest members. We’re so excited to welcome them and we hope you will share this newsletter with anyone who is considering becoming a patron so that perhaps we can see their shining face in the next edition. We look forward to expanding our message and spreading our mission of spiritual and artistic understanding far and wide!

To receive a copy of the newsletter contact info-patrons@patrons.va or to see an online version visit this link.

Unveiling of the Room of the Addresses

The Room of Addresses is so named because, in the 19th century, it had been the place of receiving addresses to the Holy See from all over the world (it’s not the place the Pope keeps his rolodex). Then, from the pontificate of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) onward, the hall became a place of glorious display for a valuable collection of ivories, enamels, metal works and other artistic pieces from the same countries from which so many appeals of peace and joy had been received.

It was clear that the cabinets used to showcase these works, originally acquired over 200 years ago and meant for the library of Cardinal Zelada, were woefully inadequate for the needs of this collection. They were not designed for this purpose and therefore did not have the climate control or ease of viewership that is generally required for modern museum exhibition.

Over the past two years an extensive restoration project of these displays has been underway thanks to the generous donations of patron Joseph Incaudo, in loving memory of his wife Beatrice Maddalena (1946-2009). Thanks to his support, the treasures housed in this hall now have a more modern home, befitting their beauty and importance.

Room of the Addresses, California Chapter from Vatican Patrons of the Arts on Vimeo.

The restoration of the Room of Addresses demonstrates the ways in which patrons who devote their support to structural elements of the Vatican Museums can make a significant contribution to the overall experience of millions of visitors over the years to come. For our 2016 Wishbook, many of our donation opportunities represent these kind of large-scale improvements to the museums that assist in access or education. Keep an eye out for projects such as these in the coming months, they will maintain an important legacy for those who have the chance to patronize them.

On June 25, these crucial restorations were ready to be unveiled. His Eminence Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello (President of the Governorate of City Vatican), Antonio Paolucci (Director of the Vatican Museums), Benedetta Montevecchi (Historian) and Guido Cornini (Curator of the Department of Decorative Arts of the Vatican Museums), and our own Sara Savoldello, Romina Cometti and Camille Reyes were on hand to officially inaugurate the new displays.

The cases also facilitate a restructuring of the collection into an improved experience for viewers which allows for focused curation and a more intuitive organizational pattern for the pieces following chronological and geographical nodes.  As part of the event on the 25th, organizers also showcased restorations on the Barocchi Crucifixes, thanks to the Reas of our Michigan Patrons, as well as upcoming restoration on St. Pantaleo sponsored by the Perry Family of Ohio.


At the Conference discussing thie new display. From left to right: Benedetta Montevecchi, Antonio Paolucci, HE Card. Bertello and Guido Cornini.

At the Conference discussing thie new display. From left to right: Benedetta Montevecchi, Antonio Paolucci, HE Card. Bertello and Guido Cornini.

Curator Guido Cornini being interviewed by Televisa on the unveiling.

Curator Guido Cornini being interviewed by Televisa on the unveiling.

Viewers admiring the new display cases.

St. Pantaleo displayed in the top middle.

Viewers admiring the new display cases.

Viewers admiring the new display cases.

#VatPatsGiveaway Winner – Mr. Domenico Musso!

We are so glad to be able to announce the lucky winner of our Spring #VatPatsGiveaway, Mr. Domenico Musso. The giveaway helped our community on Facebook Page surge to over 5000 likes. We are committed to growing our online influence as a part of a larger Vatican communications initiative. Please tell your friends to like our page for artistic and spiritual insights, papal events, Vatican and Italian Trivia, and much more (like the occasional giveaway)!

Says Mr. Musso of his excitement in being chosen as our Giveaway Winner:
“It is a great joy for me participate in the activities of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. This initiative will allow me to see first hand the work of passionate people dedicated to preserving the vast and unique collection of art housed in the Vatican Museums.
The treasures and the artistic beauty of the Church are, first of all, an effective way of making tangible the glory of intangible, in a path that brings us closer to Faith through art.
As the blessed Pope Paul VI said in the “Message to the artists” in 1965: “It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of man and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration.”
In the artwork of the Vatican Museums, protected and preserved with dedication by Patrons of Arts, we can contemplate the path of Via Pulchritudinis: the beauty of creation, through the beauty of the arts, which leads us to the beauty of Christ.

Thank you very much, Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, for this wonderful opportunity!
—Domenico Musso

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