Thursday, June 28, 2018

Liturgical Objects Restored in Italy

Our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi provided these photos from a show currently going on at the Regia di Venaria, the former Royal Palace near the city of Turin. “Restituzioni 2018” (Restorations) showcases over 200 works which have been recently restored in one way or another; art restoration is, not at all surprisingly, a field in which the Italians have a tremendous expertise and to which they devote enormous resources. The works in this show come from every part of the country, and cover every kind of art, brought from churches, museums and archeological sites, broadly representing the whole of Italy’s inestimable cultural patrimony. Here is a selection of some very nice liturgical items; tomorrow, we will post pictures of some of the many paintings also displayed at the show. (The catalog for the show can be consulted here.)

Lamp made in either Flanders or Germany, with stories of St George, 1421-40

A velvet chasuble of the mid-15th century, reworked in the mid-18th, decorated in the middle with silk embroidered with metalic threads.

Reliquary of the arm of St Eugene, from the Co-cathedral of St Peter in Noli, Liguria, 1430
The upper part of a crook, mid 15th-century, from the cathedral treasure of Tropea, Calabria.
Pyx with hunting scenesm, sicilian-arabic work ca. 1250-1335, from the church of St Stephen in Verona.

Silver statue of the Virgin of the Assumption, from the diocesan museum of Gerace, Calabria, 1772
Gilded bronze statues of various Saints by Ciro Ferri, from the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (aka ‘il Gesù’) in Rome, 1688-89.
Frontal from the church of St Philip Neri in Turin, 1701, made of a variety of materials (poplar, walnut, rosewood, ivory, tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli, jasper, etc.) The cross below is part of the same altar.

A kneeler made in the workshop of the Florentine carpenter Giorgio Tedesco, wood covered in ebony and inlaid with ivory; from the Casa Della Rovere in Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche; originally made at the end of the 16th century, reassembled in the mid-17th.
Chest with the Four Cardinal Virtues, made in Tuscany in the later part of the 15th cenutyr; Candelabras decorated with Roman motifs (dolphins on the left, putti and masks on the right) by a Lombard sculptor, 16th-17th century.
Fragments from the tomb of St Julian at his church in Rimini, made in Byzantium sometime from the 9th-11th centuries.
Decorated cloth made in the mid-14th century in Lucca, now in the Bargello Museum in Florence.
Decorated cloth made in the mid-15th century in Granada, Spain.
Decorated cloth from central Italy, 15th-16th century.
Statue of St Lucy, from the parish church of the Assumption in Caramagna Piemonte, 16th century.
St Mary Magdalene, by an assistant of Pietro Bussolo (Donato Prestinari?), from the church of Corpus Domini in Pagliaro, Lombardy, 1500-05 ca.
Throne from the choir of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Andria, Puglia, made of walnut, 1470-1500
These amazing choir stalls are not part of the show, but are displayed as part of a different show at the Regia di Venaria. They are the work of group of sculptor led by one Luigi Prinotto, a master ‘ebanista’ (specialist in the working of ebony), done for a Franciscan church in Turin in 1740. The entire choir disappeared when the properties of the religious orders were stolen by the Piedmontese government at the beginning of the 19th century, and later discovered in a basement in Nice by an Irish politician, Edward Joshua Cooper, who brought them to his castle at Markree. From there, they were donated to the cathedral of St Mary in Tuam; 20 years ago, the choir was dismantled, put in storage for a time in London, and finally returned to Turin only nine months ago.

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