Monday, February 13, 2006

Fra Angelico Restoration...

From ANSA:
(ANSA) - Florence, February 13 - A renowned altarpiece by the Renaissance genius and patron saint of artists Fra Angelico is set for a full makeover that will restore it to its original beauty .
The project to restore the Linaioli Tabernacle, to be carried out by the OPD conservation institute, will take two years and cost over 55,000 euros .
I wish that were the POD conservation institute.
The Linaioli Tabernacle comprises a central painting with two wings and the predella, a series of paintings running along the bottom of the frame .
The central work depicts a Madonna sitting on a throne with a baby Jesus standing on a cushion on her lap. Gold curtains behind the pair open out onto a blue background with a dove representing the Holy Spirit .
The two wings of the altarpiece show St John the Baptist and St Mark against a gold backdrop, while the three predella pictures are of the Predicament of St Peter, the Adoration of the Magi and the Martyrdom of St Mark .
The altarpiece is surrounded by a massive marble frame, already restored by the OPD two years ago, which was designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1432 .
Art historians believe it was Fra Angelico's only public commission, executed at the request of Florentine "Arte dei Linaioli" (Guild of Flaxmakers) .
Despite its age, the tabernacle, which stands in the San Marco convent where Fra Angelico lived for many years, has remained in remarkably good shape, according to Ciatti .
The restoration will principally focus on structural weaknesses - such as fractures in the wood - and aesthetic touch-ups, including removing the dirt and layers of varnish that have discoloured the once-brilliant hues .
Picture of the Altarpiece can be seen here.
Also on ANSA it seems that there may be changes afoot at the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI):
(ANSA) - Vatican City, February 13 - In a clear break with tradition, the pope has ordered a secret vote among Italian bishops to choose the next head of the Catholic Church in Italy .
In the past it has always been the pontiff to name the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference. This reflected the traditionally intertwined relationship between the Vatican and the Italian Church .
That relationship now appears to be loosening as Benedict moves to bring the procedures into line with those of other countries, where it is always the bishops that decide who will lead them .
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who has headed the bishops' conference since 1991, is shortly to step down in line with the tradition that sees prelates relinquish important posts when they reach 75 .
In recent days Italy's 226 bishops have received letters asking them to send their choice of successor to the pope's representative in Italy, Monsignor Paolo Romeo .
And who'd have thunk it? The Corriere della Sera informs us that Valentine's Day falls within the mating period of elephants.

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