NW Chapter visit: 5th-8th October

As we begin to anticipate the arrival of autumn, so too are we preparing for visits from our Chapters, the first of which is the Northwest. The group will begin their “Grand Art Tour of Venice and Rome” in the floating city of canals and bridges, complete with a tour of the Biennale and a private Mass in the crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica celebrated by Father Kevin.

After their sojourn in Venice, they will be joining us in Rome, kicking off their time with aMuseums tour and a grand evening in the Gallery of Busts and Statues. This will be preceded by Mass celebrated by Cardinal Bertello in the Vatican Governatorato Church of Santa Maria Regina della Famiglia. Their experience in the Vatican will also include visiting restoration labs, privately touring the Gardens, and even a special lecture on the Transfiguration in the Raphael Room of the Pinacoteca from Fr. Dalton of the Legionaries of Christ. Above all, the Northwest Chapter’s time in the Museums will be a celebration of their successes in restoring a variety of projects. They will celebrate the unveiling of the newly restored Hermes, attended by Vatican Museums Director Dr Barbara Jatta. A particular highlight will be the commemoration of the newly restored Sphere within a Sphere, their newest restoration undertaking, wherein its conservation will be dedicated to the late Thomas James Jr., former Co-chair and Founder of the Northwest Patrons Chapter.

 

A. Pomodoro, Sfera con sfera, bronzo, 1990, Musei Vaticani, Cortile della Pigna

We look forward to welcoming the Northwest Chapter and are excited to be part of their tale of two cities, a beautiful narrative in art history as well as an opportunity to take pride in their significant contribution towards their completed projects. This October, the Northwest Chapter Patrons will be joining us in Rome, for a five-star luxury weekend experiencing the impressive work undertaken by the Northwest Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, in addition to celebrating the successes of the Chapter’s 2016-17 restoration projects. The spectacular weekend will be complete with private tours of the Vatican Museums and Gardens, an exclusive conference with Fr. Dalton in an

outstanding setting, not to mention the unique occasion to attend mass in the Vatican Governatorato Church of Santa Maria Regina della Famiglia, conducted by Cardinal Bertello. The Northwest Chapter visit will include the exciting unveiling of the newly restored Hermes, in the presence of Dr Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums. Patrons to the Northwest Chapter will have the extraordinary opportunity to visit the Marble, Painting and Tapestry Restoration Labs whilst gaining an insight into their significant contribution towards current and completed projects. A particular highlight will be the commemoration of the newly restored Sfera, one of the most recent projects undertaken by the Northwest Chapter dedicated to the late Thomas James Jr, former Co-chair and Founder of the Northwest Patrons Chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Mixologists

 

The end of summer brings memories of sunshine-filled road trips, beach trips, and maybe even good food and refreshing cocktail enjoyed during the vacation. In the case of the latter, combining the right ingredients might even offer a sensory stimulation, enhancing the aesthetic experience of where the beverage is sipped.

Decorative element in the section Zitella after treatment process

Thanks to mixologists, traditional toasts are savored and classics are reimaged to create combinations to stimulate the palette. Did you know that some of the most skilled and savvy mixologists work in the Vatican Gardens? The restorers actually refer to themselves as such in jest. The difference, however, is that the cocktails that are whipped up in the Vatican Gardens are not for human consumption. Rather, the cocktails do the consuming.

Decorative element in the section Zitella before treatment process

To remove the dirt, moss, oils and varnishes from the statues and monuments in the Vatican Gardens, the restoration team is utilizing a type of a technique called in-situ bioremediation. This simply means that the undesired materials are treated and cleaned, or remediated, by biological, naturally occurring substances. All of this happens where the object in the garden currently resides, or in-situ.

Decorative elements in the section Madonna of the Guard before, during and after treatment process

From its flowers to stone figures dispersed throughout the area, the evolution of the Vatican Gardens dates back to late 13th century, and its cultivation is still continuous. After Pope Nicolas II commenced the initial planting in the Vatican hills, the area grew and changed under various pontificates and architects. Although the French invasion in 1798 eradicated a major portion of the Gardens, the 19th century witnessed a great nurturing of the area, with not only flora, but also arrangement of marble sculptures, fountains, pieces of ancient monuments. The gardens were home of more changes after the Vatican City State was recognized as an independent state with the concordat of the 1929 Lateran Treaty. The reconstruction and revamping involved more sculptural additions. The objects and embellishments that have stood the test of time in the garden, however, also bear the vestige of times past. In other words, they need a good cleaning.

And this spurred a very good idea. Why not use natural things to preserve nature?

Plant oils and extracts have been known to have antimicrobial responses for years. Essential oils have significant inhibitory effects against a spectrum of bacteria, fungi, and other biological microorganisms. What this means, in short, is that fennel, clove, cinnamon, or juniper berry oil may not be just for flavoring drinks, and bergamot, lavender or rosewood may not be relegated to perfumery. With the correct ratio and “flavor” combinations, putting certain oils together—even in low, diluted concentrations—can result in being just the right “stain-buster” to eliminate the moss off of a marble plaque or bacterial residue off of a fountain.

Although the Vatican is not the first to use natural ingredients to clean, they are innovative in their techniques and employing essential oils for art restoration purposes. Pure oils are always used and analyzed first, to determine which might be more efficient in combatting fungi, another for algae. The most potent is decided based on a series of four tests and how they differ before and after treatment. On the selected “swatch,” the restorers will measure the color spectrum, the bioluminescence of the surface, the amount of residual fungi using fungi tape, and also use transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to analyze the outcome of using each essential oil. These results, in turn, help the team come up with the right recipe for their “cocktails” to clean each piece in the garden.

Marble surface with various test swatches treated with different essential oils in varying concentrations

The gardens were divided into sections to better care for and catalogue the pieces, and the restoration effort started with a pilot project to test the potency and security of the material(s) used. The zone called Cascatelle (small waterfalls) was fundamental in discerning which substances could be used in conservation without adverse environmental effects. Thanks to the funding provided by the Hazelwood family of California, the restoration team sought out the best approach—and oils such as rosemary and licorice—to clean and revitalize the area.

Before and after cleaning of Apollo playing his cithar in the Cascatelle section of the Vatican Gardens

With over 500 pieces in the gardens, the innovation continues in other sections and is in progress now. The Grotto of Lourdes (sponsored by California Chapter), the helicopter port (Texas Chapter), Madonna of the Guard (The Brewis family of Michigan), Zitella and the Casina of Pius IV (New York Chapter), and Vignaccia (Robert Toll of Philadelphia) are all sections where work is taking place. There are still 7 more sections that are part of the gardens and need adoption in the future.

If in the next few years you have the good fortune to gaze upon the panorama of the gardens from the Museums, you might also catch sight through the bushes of a restorer or two rejuvenating the Vatican’s backyard —our very own cocktail historians and innovators rolled into one!

Initial Greetings from our New International Director

 

Vatican City, September 8, 2017

 

Dear Patrons,

Greetings from Rome where today I officially take the helm as the Intemational Director of the

Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

Since my arrivai in Rome July 14th, I have had seven weeks to “shadow” Father Daniel Hennessey both here in the Vatican, as well as on a brief trip to the United States which included meetings with the Chapter leaders ofDC and NY as well as with Msgr. Terry Hogan and Lorna Richardson. Here in the Vatican I am becoming a “recognizabie figure’for the Swiss Guards and Gendarme and Vatican Museums Staff. It seems the only one left forme to meet is the Pope Francis!

Ever since meeting Bill Wilson and a group of Patrons in the early 90’s when I was a seminarian in Rome, I have been impressed by this distinguished group of individuals. And now, after walking the museum halls these past two months, I continually see these words at the base of a work of art: “this restoration was made possible by the generosity of the Patrons of …..”! Friends, I am truly honored and awed to now be officiaiiy a part ofthe Patrons ofthe Arts, even ifi have had the grace to mix with you on various occasions in the past. You should also be proud to be members of a unique Vatican association that is soon to reach its 35th year of service to promote and preserve this great patrimony of humanity housed in the Vatican Museums.

Although I am still dedicating much thought and prayer as to what I believe I can personally offer all of you at the service of this organization, three words come to mind and heart.

The first is stability. I know changes always can make us uneasy, even if it can bring good things. And the change at the helm of leadership is no exception. Additionally, we will also be changing our Vatican location as we move our offices closer to the Museum’s administration offices which are much nearer to the main entrance. While we face these changes, many things remain that provide us with stability. First of ali, the excelient staffthat I have been gifted which so many ofyou know, such as Sara Savoldelio and Romina Cornetti among others here in Rome, as well as Msgr. Terry Hogan and Loma Richardson in the U.S.. Stability is also provided by my own previous experience working in the Vatican at the Pontificai Council for the Laity, where I headed up the “Church and Sport” office for eight years. Additionally, the dedication and passion ofall Patrons to promote and to preserve the beauty of art as an enduring spirituallegacy provides us continuity as well. In order to be poised for future and current growth, we need to have a stable and strong foundation. In light of this, I want to recognize ali that Fr Daniel has done in his tenure to bring stability by institutionalizing our PAVM Fellowship program in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors we have each week as weii as take measures to bolster our technological savvy to keep up with these new demands.

The other word that I would like to mark my tenure is collaboration. From what I gather, the collaboration of our office with the Museum leadership team is really starting to blossom, as was seen in the enthusiastic presence ofDr. Jatta at the leaders meeting in Phoenix. I would like to continue to build up transparency, trust and teamwork among all: with our office staff, with the leadership ofthe Vatican museums, with each of the Patron chapters, and even among the chapters and their membership. We will be facing some extraordinary restoration projects in the upcoming years that will require teamwork and collaboration among ari of us.

The last word is momentum. In my almost 18 years as a priest, one thing I lament seeing is a waste of energy and resources due to trying to continually reinvent the wheel. Yes, we need to be innovative, but also rooted in real experience and best practices. It is my hope that I can dismay the feeling that we are starting all over again from scratch. Rather, I hope to build on the legacy of the past and the current momentum of this past year. In speaking with Dr. Jatta, Fr. Daniel and others present at the leaders meeting in Phoenix, they perceive a new momentum, an air of excitement and a forward thinking spirit among the Chapter feaders and tne patrons in generai Of course, not ali of our problems are resolved, and each chapter will have its particular challenges to face, but we have a legacy and a new momentum that I want to build upon and bolster. I know there were some concrete commitments that carne out of the March Chapter Leaders meeting that I will also commit myself to in order to keep moving the bali forward.

I humbly ask for your prayers and patience asI try to hit the ground running. I promise to offer you my best as I try to be at your service so tnat alT ofus can gìve our best in fulfilling our unique mìssion of promoting art and beauty as an enduring spirituallegacy.

 

 

 

Click here to download Father Kevin’s letter: FrKevinLixey001

 

WELCOME TO OUR NEW INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR

It is with extreme gratitude that we say goodbye to, Fr. Daniel Hennessy, L.C., International Director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums from summer 2016 to summer 2017 and welcome our new director Fr. Kevin Lixey, L.C. While Fr. Hennessy was with us only briefly, his warm demeanor and determined attitude were influential. Below, you can read a letter from Fr. Hennessy that introduces our new director, whom we welcome with warm anticipation.

Dear Patrons and Friends,

A very cordial greeting from the Vatican where we are gearing up for another season of wonder at the many blessings showered upon us by God. Just the other day I was walking with a journalist through the museum, close to closing hour, and she said, “how could anyone who has seen all this beauty ever resort to violence or hatred? Just seeing this gives me hope for humanity.” As we open the late summer and autumn season of activities, there is big news for the Patrons Office.

As some of you may have already read in the Newsletter, Father Kevin Lixey LC will take my place as International Director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums beginning in September of this year. Father Kevin is a member of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. He has served as a spiritual director for the Regnum Christi Movement of Apostolate based in Atlanta, Georgia, for the past five years. Prior to his assignment in Georgia, he served at the Vatican for eight years in the Council for the Laity, heading up the Office for Sport, of which he was the founding director. Father Kevin was ordained priest in January of 2001. He is originally from Flint, Michigan, and has a broad international experience thanks to numerous assignments abroad. I have been working with Father Kevin since the beginning of July of this year in order to ensure a smooth transition. I am confident that he will provide competent leadership for our organization.

I want to thank you for the many wonderful experiences I have had during the past year as International Director. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you, participating in the events, following the restoration projects, being involved in the exhibits here in Rome and abroad. You have been wonderful, and your contribution to the Vatican Museums is invaluable. You bring a value far beyond the financial help for the restoration and conservation projects. Your interest and enthusiasm is always refreshing and continues to transform the Vatican Museums. I can assure you that you are very much appreciated by the museum administration at all levels, including the current director, Dr. Barbara Jatta, and the Cardinal President of the Vatican City State, Giuseppe Bertello. I will carry with me forever the memories and life lessons from my experiences with the Patrons.

I take this opportunity to thank the staff here in Rome: Sara, Romina, Chiara; and the fellows, Leticia and Ami. They have been a wonderful support over the past months, and it has been a joy working with them. I also want to thank Msgr. Terry Hogan who helped me in so many ways, and Lorna Richardson, whose devoted service to the organization is well known to all. Thank you also to my predecessor, Fr. Mark Haydu LC, who paved the way for such a wonderful experience for me. And, of course, thanks be to God our Father, who is the giver of every gift and source of all blessing!

May God bless you today and always!
Fr Daniel