"'Magnificenze Vaticane' Masterpieces of Art from the Collections of the Fabric of St. Peter's" is an exhibition due to be inaugurated this afternoon at Palazzo Incontro in Rome. The display will feature never seen before Vatican artworks from the 14th to 20th centuries.
The exhibition, which will remain open until May 25, is being promoted by the Province of Rome and by the European Centre for Tourism and includes more than 130 works restored and examined by experts who recovered them from storage in the Vatican Basilica. "Magnificenze Vaticane" is divided into various interrelated but autonomous sections including architecture, painting and sculpture.
The announcement states that the “aim of such a precise distinction is to show the diversity of works at a single site (the basilica of St. Peters) and to bear witness to the quality of workmanship even in fields usually held to be of lesser importance". The overarching goal is to reveal the variety and creative ability of the main figures on the Roman artistic scene who in all times - from the 14th to the 20th century - aspired to leave their mark on the Vatican Basilica."
The exhibit will help visitors to experience art of past ages. "The papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, universally known as the center of Christianity, houses a vast number of important monuments, the fruit of the abilities and creativity of the greatest artists of all ages. Yet before their sparks of genius were immortalized in stone or bronze, there was a phase in which the work of art was planned and assessed. The rediscovery of traces of this precious heritage of the past ... is the theme of this great and unique exhibition," the announcement says.
The announcement also recalls that the Fabric of St. Peter's was established by Julius II in 1506 to oversee the various phases of the building of the new basilica and to guarantee its subsequent maintenance.
Among the little-known works on display will be a roll of damask with the arms of Pope Alexander VII, pyramidal reliquaries by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, candelabra and crosses purchased by Pope Pius IX from the king of Naples, and a series of eighteenth-century altar hangings in silk and gold.
The 1400s are represented in the sculpture section with the Four Evangelists by Mino da Fiesole and Giovanni Dalmata, while the Baroque is present in the form of works attributed to Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Aligardi.
In the painting section, fragments and frescoes from the interior of the basilica of St. Peter's will be on display for the first time.
Documents from the General Historical Archive of the Fabric signed by Benevenuto Cellini, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, Bernini and others will also be on show.