ANSA) - Rome, December 2 - The Museum of Antique Art will finally be able to expand to occupy almost all of Palazzo Barberini, after an over 50-year wait, thanks to an agreement reached between the ministries of culture and defense .
Located in the heart of Rome, this sumptuous 17th century palace was acquired by the State in 1949 to house the vast art collections donated by the city's Torlonia, Chigi, Odescalchi and Colonna di Sciarra patrician families .
However, most of the collections have remained in storage because of a long tug-of-war between the defense and culture ministries over the Army officers' club which occupied a major section of the building .
According to the new agreement, the officers club will be moved to the nearby Art Nouveau Savorgnan di Brazza' building, which has been restored by the Ministry of Culture, while the Ministry of Defense will retain 700sqm in Palazzo Barberini for future ceremonial functions. Restoration work must now be done on Palazzo Barberini but already next year the public will be able to view an impressive exhibition of works by such artists as Pietro da Cortona, Filippe Lippi. Perugino, Raphael, Guercino. Luca Giordano and Caravaggio, among many others .
The dispute over full possession of Palazzo Barberini began when the government of the time ignored a 1952 resolution from parliament and renewed for another 12 years the officers club lease, which had been set to expire in 1953 .
The lease was not renewed when expired in 1965 but the officers club refused to move and even stopped paying rent. Not only that, but the club continued renting out its space for parties and receptions and keeping the proceeds .The problem finally began to be resolved in 1997 when then-defence minister Beniamino Andreatta and then-culture minister Walter Veltroni signed a detailed agreement by which the Army officers' club would be moved to the Savorgnan di Brazza' building once it had been restored. In the meantime the club would move to smaller quarters in Palazzo Barberini .
The Barberini Palace was begun in 1624 by architect Carlo Maderno for Pope Urban VII, a member of the Barberini family .
Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini also worked on the project while Pietro da Cortona helped with the architectural design and painted the ceiling fresco in the palace's main hall .
Fascinating news story in the Times:
A T-SHIRT blamed for a surge in unsolved murders was taken off the shelves at the weekend after the Mayor of Boston threatened to seize stocks.
The red shirts bear the message Stop Snitchin’ — a warning against being a police informer. They have become popular with gang members, and police in Boston blame them for the fact that, despite a rise in the city’s murder rate to a 10-year high of 66 this year, 70 per cent remain unsolved.
Thomas Menino, the mayor, threatened to remove the T-shirts from the streets after gunfire near a school playground. Despite objections from civil liberties groups, he said: “We’re going to go into every retail store that sells them, and we’re going to take them off the shelves.”
Stop Snitchin’ has become a mantra of hip-hop culture. Lil’ Kim, a rap diva, was praised in the hip-hop press when she was sent to prison for a year this summer for refusing to “snitch” on a member of her entourage who was involved in a shooting.
The T-shirts have disrupted several trials. Prosecutors in Pittsburgh dropped an attempted murder case after the intended victim turned up at court wearing one and refused to testify. In Boston, the mother of a gang member accused of shooting a ten-year-old girl made Stop Snitching T-shirts for spectators to wear at the trial. The judge agreed with police that the Stop Snitchin’ message was tantamount to witness intimidation and had them ejected.
The shopkeeper at the centre of the controversy in Boston is a former rapper who, since 1999, has sold 35,000 Stop Snitchin’ shirts over the counter and through his website.
The American Civil Liberties Union intervened on behalf of Antonio Ennis when he refused to stop selling them but he backed down anyway after two black clergymen accompanied Mr Menino to Mr Ennis’s shop on Saturday to remove his stock. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Lewis in Shock Christ-Aslan Connection:
AN unpublished letter from the novelist C S Lewis has provided conclusive proof of the Christian message in his Narnia children’s books.
In the letter, sent to a child fan in 1961, Lewis writes: “The whole Narnian story is about Christ.” It has been found by Walter Hooper, literary adviser to the Lewis estate.
It has emerged ahead of this week’s release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The film, starring Tilda Swinton and Jim Broadbent, cost £75m to make and has been at the centre of a tug of war between Christians and secularists.
Brian Sibley, author of Shadowlands, the book which describes Lewis’s marriage to Joy Gresham, said: “This is the most specific explanation of Narnia I have heard.”
The letter, written from Magdalene College, Cambridge, where Lewis was a don, contradicts this. “Supposing there really was a world like Narnia . . . and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?” he wrote.
“The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of talking beasts, I thought he would become a talking beast there as he became a man here. I pictured him becoming a lion there because a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; b) Christ is called ‘the lion of Judah’ in the Bible.”