Saturday, October 5, 2013


Museo Storico Artistico del Tesoro di S. Pietro
Seven rooms in the 1974 layout with objects of historical importance, vestments, sacred vessels and reliquaries
"Dalmatian said to have belonged to Charlemagne" with embroidery but actually dating to the end of the fourteenth, beginning of the fifteenth century
Example of "Sakkos" used by Byzantine emperors during the coronation
"Greek Byzantine cross or Maastricht reliquary" early eleventh century, gift from Roman II Emperor of the East to the German Emperor Philip, believed to contain five fragments of the Cross of Christ
"Copy of the Cathedra Petri". The original is enclosed in the bronze custody made by Bernini in the apse of the S.Peter's Basilica. It was probably a throne dating back to the time of Emperor Charles the Bald (840/877) crowned in 875 in St. Peter's. On the front eighteen ivory panels with "Stories of Hercules"
"Crux Vaticana or Cross of Justin II" sixth century. Gift from the Emperor of the East Justin II (565/578) and his wife Sofia to Pope John II (561/574), recently restored
"Cross-shrine (reliquary)" with fragment believed to be part of the cross of Christ
"Tabernacle of the Sacrament of the Eucharist" 1432/33 by Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi aka Donatello (1386/1466) in Carrara marble with groups of angels and relief with deposition, maybe made with Michelozzo
It includes a fresco from the end of fifteenth century "Madonna of the fever" by an unknown artist
It used to keep the Holy Sacrament in the now disappeared Parva Chapel built for Eugene IV Coldumer (1431/47) formerly in the Apostolic Palace
It is considered one of the major works of the Renaissance, especially the scene with the "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" at the top
"Just how he will do in 1448 with the relief of the altar of St. Anthony in Padua, Donatello reworks the ancient prototype of the death of Meleager, but the dramatic emphasis of agony in front of the body of Christ is raised to a point never achieved before, with exaggerated facial expressions and gestures that appear on the edge to defeat the physicality of the human form. One does not recognize the individual characters: it is a display unit of figures caught in a wave of searing emotion that overwhelms, disrupts the features of the faces reduced to forms of pain, breaks to acute angles bodies and clothes" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Canvas "Handing the keys" by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
On the door and window "Domine Quo Vadis" and "St. Peter introduced to Christ by St. Andrew" second half of eighteenth century by Antonio Cavallucci (1752/95) from Sermoneta
"Monument of Pope Sixtus IV" Della Rovere (1471/84) 1493 Antonio Benci aka Antonio del Pollaiuolo (about 1432/98)
Reliefs with seven virtues: three theological (Faith, Hope and Charity) and four cardinal (Prudence with a snake, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance with a column)
Ten reliefs framed by acanthus leaves with ten allegorical images of arts and sciences: Arithmetic, Astrology, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Grammar, Geometry, Music, Perspective, Theology and Philosophy
"Sixtus IV, although he wore the humble Franciscan habit, interpreted his mission as if he were a prince of the Renaissance, and commissioned a form of burial without religious images, Madonnas or biblical scenes. The different variations and expressions of faces and human figures, however, does not appear as an arbitrary invasion of the sophistication of an era, but obey the need to reveal the mystery of life after death. The shaken bodies, especially those representing the arts, the subtle movements of densely ruffled dresses, can give an uninterrupted thrill of life to any modeled surface of the grave. The man who lies still is not equal to himself anymore, he enjoys an irruptive new youth" (Dario Rezza)
Oil on board "Deposition from the Cross" 1957 by Guelfo Bianchini (1937/97)
"A painter, engraver, sculptor, photographer, creator of vast cycles of stained glass in Fabriano and in Rome (National Gallery of Modern Art, Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi). He had a particularly significant role in the Italian Surrealism" (Mirko Stocchi)
Encaustic on canvas "Crucifixion" 1969 by Mario Donizetti (1932)
"The protagonist of a unique and unconventional creative adventure during the last decades of the twentieth century, he is considered the greatest exponent of figurative painting realist" (Mirko Stocchi)
Encaustic on wood "Golgotha" 1980 by Mario D'Anna (1933)
"He gives life and force to symbols, allegories and biblical images, in which the subject represented seems compressed and reduced to a fictitious and unwanted immobility" (Mirko Stocchi)
Plaster sculpture "Detachment from matter" and oil on canvas "From the Cross the Church" 1977 by Enzo Carnebianca (1948)
"The style of Carnebianca is expressed in a visionary world of intriguing surrealism. His sculptural and pictorial representations express an intimate mythology, with beings from the subconscious: 'anthropo-snakes', spirals, figures with the third eye with mullets of 'Atlantean' proportions. His semi-divine beings remind us of the time that was or that will be" (Gloria Porcella and Lamberto Petrecca -
Silver and bronze sculpture "Urn of holy water" 1960 by Pericle Fazzini (1913/87)
"Self-taught, trained in the school of his father, wood craftsman, in 1929 he settled in Rome. In an instinctive way, but not unaware of the avant-garde experiences, Fazzini developed, isolated, a language in which the sensitive approach to reality intertwines consistently with the intention of overcoming it" (Enciclopedia Treccani)
Bronze sculpture "Maternity" 1996 by Alfiero Nena (1933)
"He expresses in his art with form of great spiritual intensity a wide range of human feelings. He has conducted an exciting research on the figure of Christ, emphasizing the mystery of death and resurrection" (Mirko Stocchi)
"Angel in clay" 1672/74 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680), made personally by the master. Model for the bronze casting of the left angel of the tabernacle of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament
"Candlesticks" by Sebastiano Torrigiani (active since about 1573/d. 1596) 1585. Two have been attributed to Benvenuto Cellini
"Farnese Cross" and "Four candlesticks" 1582
"Cross in rock crystal" 1200
"Golden Chalice of Cardinal Henry Stuart" 1800 by Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839)
"Bust of Cardinal Henry Stuart" late 1700 by the workshop of Antonio Canova (1757/1822)
"Twelve diamond stars" 1904 donated by Catholics around the world to S. Pius X Sarto (1903/14) for the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception
"Cross of Constantine or Minor Reliquiary" eleventh or twelfth century from Constantinople
"Canon of the bishops" 1888 in gold, ivory and precious stones
"Bull of the first Jubilee" 1300, one of three originals. The other two are in the Vatican Library
Tempera on copper "Sts. Peter and Paul" fifteenth century. Maybe from the school of Giotto (1267/1337)
"Old Slavonic Icon with Sts. Peter and Paul" about 1270/80 maybe originally from Serbia with a frame by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700/73)
"Rooster in gilt bronze" maybe from the ninth century. It was maybe an anemoscope (a tool to indicate wind direction) on the bell tower of the old St. Peter's Basilica
"Three elephant tusks" from the ancient Basilica
The largest is one of the tusks of an African elephant, believed to be part of the gifts of Constantine (306/337) and therefore represented in the fresco "Donation of Constantine to Pope Sylvester" by Giovanni Francesco Penni in the Room of Constantine, one of the Raphael's Rooms
The two smaller ones are tusks of an Indian elephant, maybe the famous elephant Hanno, favorite of Leo X Medici (1513/21) and of all the Romans, who died in the Vatican and was maybe buried in the courtyard of the Belvedere with a portrait done by Raphael
"Spiral column also called Holy Column" fourth century AD, 4.75 m (15.6 feet) in Parian marble, believed to be the one on which Jesus rested, and belonging to the group of 12 columns supporting the pergula in the confession of the old St. Peter's Basilica
Six columns were donated by Constantine and the other six were donated by the exarch (governor) Eutichius of Ravenna to Gregory III (731/741). It was believed they came from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem
It was called Column of the madmen because people believed to be possessed by the devil were tied up to it, hoping that the proximity of the column would have healed them
"Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus the Younger" 359, in Pentelic marble, found in 1598 under the confession
Junius Bassus the Young died a Christian in 359 and was the son of Junius Bassus, who had erected the pagan basilica on the Esquiline Hill
Ten compartments with the Old and New Testament on three sides
In the upper register from left to right: Sacrifice of Isaac, Capturing of St. Peter, Christ enthroned between St. Peter and St. Paul, Arrest of Christ, Judgement of Pilate
In the lower register: Pain of Job, Adam and Eve, Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, Daniel in the lions' den, St. Paul led to the martyrdom
"The rhythmic partition of the architectural framework manages to give an extra temporal atmosphere to the individual stories. The arrangement of the scenes does not respect the order of events. So the story becomes a statement of faith more than a coherent sequence of events" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
"Just because the story in figures as such is no longer considered interesting, the images have to successfully take the front stage: thus the technique is easier and tends to get strong visual effects, modeling summarily for strong contrasts of light and shadow, using largely the drill to dig the luminous mass of marble with small deep black holes, which give an intense vibration, exploiting all the pictorial possibilities of the abundant decoration of Late Antiquity" (Giulio Carlo Argan)
"Reliquary of St. Peter's finger" of the seventeenth century
"Shrine of the Blessed Virgin" of the beginning of the nineteenth century, with hair believed to be the Virgin Mary's
"Reliquary of the Holy Thorns" of the beginning of the nineteenth century, with two thorns believed to be part of the crown of Christ
"Bust reliquary of St. Luke" of the beginning of the fifteenth century, with head believed to be St. Luke's
"Reliquary of St. Sebastian" maybe of the end of the fifteenth century, with head believed to be S. Sebastian's
"Reliquary of St. Blaise" 1402 with vertebra of the neck believed to be be St. Blaise's
In the museum there are also MICROMOSAICS, liturgical vestments and sacred vessels

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