Completed projects

 

Enhancing and preserving the inestimable heritage of the Antonian Complex is a statutory task of the Veneranda Arca di S. Antonio. Here is the series of restoration interventions that – thanks to the generous support of individual benefactors, private companies, and public institutions – have been promoted and carried out during this last term.

 

 

Giovanni Bonazza
Bust and plaque of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia
1727

Restoration sponsored by the “Elena Cornaro Piscopia” Tourist Guide Association of Padua
Restoration by Monica Vial
March 2017

 

©Photographs by Monica Vial.

On the second pillar on the left of the basilica, the marble bust by Giovanni Bonazza perpetuates the memory of the first woman in the world to graduate. Her name was Elena Cornaro Piscopia and she was born in 1678.

Natural daughter of the nobleman Giovanni Battista Cornaro and of the commoner Zanetta Boni, Elena was really passionate about studying, demonstrating early in life a lively attitude and will to learn, studying Latin, philosophy, theology, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and acquiring a vast musical culture. She lived as a Benedictine oblate, displeasing in this her parents who wished for her a marriage that, together with her fame, would have revived the family’s prestige.

In 1677, she submitted an application to graduate in theology, but Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo, Chancellor of the Paduan Studio, rejected it. On 25 June 1678, however, Elena Lucrezia was granted a degree in philosophy. She died in 1684. After graduation, she had moved from Venice to Padua where she lived in the Cornaro Palace, near Saint Anthony’s. She was buried in the Basilica of Santa Giustina in Padua.

Giovanni Bonazza, the founder of one of the most important families of Venetian sculptors between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, executed this bust in 1727. Perhaps a student of Giusto Le Corte in Venice, he settled in Padua in1696, carrying out, shortly after, the decoration of the entrance pillars of the Chapel of the Relics at Saint Anthony’s, acquiring suggestions from Filippo Parodi, artist of the chapel itself, and performing several other works (sculptures and tombstones) in the basilica in the following years.

 

Jacopo da Montagnana
Christ as Man of Sorrows, the Virgin Mary, Saint John,
the pious women, and the symbols of the Passion
end of the 15th century

Restoration sponsored by Interchem Italia, Vigonza (PD)
Restoration by Giordano Passarella
September-October 2017

 

©Photographs by Giordano Passarella.

The fresco, relevant for quality and interest, is located on the right-hand pillar of the counter-façade, almost welcoming visitors. It, together with the above wall, reporting the indulgence of 23,000 years and 23 days and the prayers, painted, at an angle, on the wall of the counter-façade and traditionally ascribed to Saint Gregory the Great, documented how in this corner of the basilica special attention was put on the suffrage for the dead and on personal meditation on the themes of the Passion. Such connection between prayers and images was widely documented in Europe in the previous era and especially in the Fifteenth century, particularly in the context of Franciscan devotion.

The fresco executed at the end of the fifteenth century is attributable to Jacopo Parisati, known as Montagnana, main artist of the post-Mantegna painting in Padua and also active in other parts of the basilica.

In particular, Jacopo da Montagnana painted the walls of the Gattamelata Chapel, the first on the right (now Chapel of the Santissimo). These frescoes have been lost, but the personality of the painter, who crosses the culture of the early Giovanni Bellini with the Mantegna’s style substratum of the Po Valley, is well documented in this work, which, thanks to the objects and episodes represented, offers a kind of guided meditation on the themes of the Passion.

Prayer on fresco with architectural frame and stone base
Different periods

Basilica of Saint Anthony, right pillar of the counter-façade
Restoration supported by Iolanda Ollari Zen
Restoration by Giordano Passarella
December 2018

 

©Photograph by Giordano Passarella.

The secluded place where this prayer was depicted attests it had been a place for meditation and personal prayer since ancient times, an aspect rediscovered even by today’s devotees, especially after the restoration.
At the bottom the fresco presents a cross, whose restoration may perhaps offer the opportunity to investigate more deeply an aspect of the life of the Basilica, that of its consecration, yet to be verified

 

Fourteenth century painter
Christ takes leave of his mother and two donors
14th century

Restoration sponsored by the Camposampiero Lyons Club
Restoration by Valentina Piovan
November-December 2017

 

©Photographs by Valentina Piovan.

 

The fresco represents an episode, recalled only in the apocryphal Gospels, reporting the moment when Christ took leave from his mother before his Passion. This subject, often accompanied by the episode of Mary’s fainting, is well documented in the sixteenth-century painting (a famous example from the Veneto is Lorenzo Lotto’s canvas in the Gemäldegalerie of Berlin), but rarely appears in the previous era. The iconographic rarity of this fresco makes it particularly interesting, together with its location in the Chapel of the Madonna Mora, where Saint Anthony was first buried.

The restoration made it possible to recover also the architectural background, which in the design of the gate of a walled city seems to recall the fourteenth-century Padua and its ‘ferry’, the hanging walkway that connected the Carrara Palace to the Carrara castle.

The beautiful fresco is also accompanied by a writing, in vernacular, not completely legible, but describing Christ taking leave from his mother and mentioning his next and painful Passion. Perhaps, the real rarity of the theme has induced the donors (the elderly man and woman, depicted below, on a reduced scale and in a devout attitude), or the painter, to clarify what is represented through the inscription. Before restoration, the fresco was attributed to Giusto de’ Menabuoi, a paternity that now seems no longer sustainable.

Funeral monument by Stefano Ubaldini de Ripa, 1621
Funeral monument by Stanislaus Friznekier, 1690

Basilica of Saint Anthony, left aisle, altar of Saint Stanislaus
Restoration by Elżbieta Barbara Lenart on behalf of the Krakow National Museum
and funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
December 2017

 

©Photographs by E. Barbara Lenart.

 

The state of conservation of the two monuments – which are respectively on the right and left of the altar of St. Maximilian Kolbe, formerly of St. Stanislaus, in the left aisle of the basilica – was discreet. Both showed widespread phenomena of dirt and soot due to both air pollution and carbon black especially due the use of candles in the past decades.
A maintenance type of restoration was carried out, mainly a careful cleaning in order to bring to light the original aesthetic effect and allow the right reading of the shape and colour of the different types of marble, gilding and polychromy applied on the surface of the stone.

 

Fourteenth century painter
Saint Anthony and two donors
14th century

Basilica of Saint Anthony, pillar to the left of the counter-façade
Restoration supported by Tecno Minuterie di Crivellari and Ceron s.n.c.
Restoration by Valentina Piovan, with Fiorenza Redi and Francesca Faleschini
May 2018

 

©Photographs by Valentina Piovan.

 

The fresco, which is located in the presbytery, on the left front corner pillar, represents St. Anthony in full figure on a celestial background; the saint, who wears the classic brown habit, makes a blessing gesture with his right hand and holds a book with his left one. The figures of the two devoted donors appear at his knees. In the back, divided by the body of the saint, the writing “S. ANTONIUS” flows.
The fresco dates back to the fourteenth century (underlying layer perhaps from the thirteenth century, with later additions of the seventeenth century [?]), and it is known as the “true effigy of St. Anthony”.
During the restoration, after the removal of the frame that contained the protective glass, two side bands, characterized by a bright blue (azurite) and green (green earth or malachite), were exposed. From small gaps in the dark layer of the background are visible fragments of a pigment based on a coarse-grained azurite, suggesting that under the currently visible image, there might be an older one, of the thirteenth century, similar but without donors and coeval to the construction of the pillar in its first execution.
The first phase of restoration of the fresco consisted in securing and consolidating the plasters: after guaranteeing the stability of the substrates, it was possible to clean the surface, especially in correspondence with the figures of the saint and the donors.
The cleaning of the framing proved to be of particular interest. After removing the superficial gray, according to the direction of the works, some portions of the rear tempera frame were kept for documentary purposes (the adjacent pillar strip, which partially conceals it, could indicate as a possible ante-quem term for dating the seventeenth-century restructuring of the marble presbytery walls of the latter).
Therefore, a large part of the original frescoed frame, similar to that of the fresco Christ takes leave of Mary of the nearby Chapel of the Madonna Mora was brought to light. This is a datum capable of arousing reflections on the two realizations and perhaps even placing the fresco of St. Anthony in the second half of the fourteenth century. The affinities between the two frames are to be found on a decorative and chromatic level: the only detectable difference is the reduced dimensional ratio.
An important structural operation consisted in the dismantling of the lunette and the padding of detached mortar on the left of the fresco.
After a careful photographic documentation, the lunette and the lateral padding were leveled with fine sand mortar. Both the gaps in the fresco and the numerous holes of consolidation also received adequate plastering.
Overall, the fresco presented a fairly good state of conservation of the pictorial material, probably in several points reintegrated in the course of ancient interventions. The pictorial integration was, therefore, limited in order to punctually connect abrasions and stuccos to the pre-existing pictorial fabric.
Given the iconographic relevance of the detail that required more evidence, the inscription with the name of the Saint was slightly reinforced with lime color. From small fragments, it seems that the inscription re-proposes an older one underneath.

Rizzi Francesco
Monument to St. Anthony
1765

Basilica of Saint Anthony, Magnolia cloister
Restoration supported by a donation
Restoration by Monica Vial
July 2018

 

©Photographs by Monica Vial.

 

The monument, in white stone, is located in the Magnolia cloister and consists of an arch with bas-reliefs and a statue of Saint Anthony placed in a decorated niche.
The work is the result of a composition of several elements: the statue, executed in 1765, by the Paduan sculptor Francesco Rizzi, the later decorated pilaster strips of the niche, and the arch in precious marble which is much older and resembles the style of the decorations of the Ark.

The monument was intact as a whole, but covered with a considerable layer of dirt that altered its original colour. The intervention required a first cleaning with soft brushes and dust pick-up, then a second intervention with compresses and the application of specific products. After the plastering and sealing of gaps and micro-cracks, some pictorial retouching in the decoration was necessary.
A protective layer of microcrystalline wax was finally applied to the statue, its base, and the inserts of marble of the arch.

 

Fourteenth century painter
Saint Ludwig from Toulouse
Saint Lucy

Basilica of Saint Anthony, pillars of the counter-façade
Restoration supported by the Veneranda Arca di S. Antonio thanks to the Music Festival
with the MoMus – More Music Association, Padua
Restoration by Giordano Passarella
October 2018

 

©Photographs by Giordano Passarella.

The frescoes are found inside the Basilica in niches carved in the pillars of the counter-façade and represent Saint Ludovico from Tolosa (14th century) and Saint Lucy (14th century) painted frontally and full-length, on a dark monochrome background, bordered by the simple alternation of black and white frames and green and yellow bands; on the Saints’ head there is a halo engraved on the plaster and finished with gold leaf.
The state of conservation before restoration was not good and the figures appeared to be severely compromised by numerous alterations.
The cleaning, with the removal of the thick layer of dirt, has brought to light details and colours of the pictorial decoration; some old metallic elements no longer in use have been mechanically eliminated and old stucco works lowered or removed. All the areas of plaster affected by detachments have been consolidated and the pictorial retouching, performed with watercolours, has intended to give chromatic unity to the paintings, always keeping recognizable the difference between original parts and reconstructions.

Giovanni Bonazza
Saint Anthony with the Child Jesus
1708

Basilica of Saint Anthony, entrance portal to the vestibule of the Sacristy
Restoration supported by a donation
Restoration by Monica Vial
October 2018

 

©Photograph by Giovanni Pinton.

The portal of the sacristy of the Basilica was opened in the mid-1700s and is rich in precious marbles and Istrian stone, surmounted by a wonderful statue in Carrara marble representing Saint Anthony with the Child Jesus by the sculptor Giovanni Bonazza, dated 1708 and coming by another location.
Before restoration, the entire surface of the monument was covered by layers of dirt and dust over waxes and oxidized paints resulting from previous interventions.
To the initial cleaning phase carried out either manually with brushes or using suction and compresses, followed the plastering and sealing of all cracks, gaps and micro-cracks.
Small watercolour touches have been performed in small old stucco works still well anchored but changed in time from the original shade; finally, a protection based on microcrystalline wax was applied to the statue, the base, and the marble inserts of the arch.

Rinaldino of France
Saint Anthony
Around 1390

Originally in a niche above the central door of the Basilica, soon to be placed in the Antonian Museum
Restoration supported by Farmafactoring Foundation, Milan
Restoration by Giorgio Socrate, AR Arte and Restauro S.r.l.
December 2018

 

©Photograph by Giorgio Socrate.

The statue of the saint, of the end of the fourteenth century, was once placed in the external niche of the façade of the Basilica, above the central entrance door. Exposure to atmospheric agents threatened not only the integrity of the artwork, but it was close to determining, with the deterioration of the statue, a serious danger to the passage below. It was then removed and, on this occasion, the restoration was carried out.
With the approval of the Soprintendenza, the statue was cleaned in compliance with the current surface finish, limiting the polishing to the elimination of the accumulated incoherent deposits; diagnostic tests were carried out and detached parts, particularly the right arm, replaced. After the plastering of lesions and cracks, a slight chromatic veiling was put on to provide a more correct reading.

Tadeusz Popiel
Wall frescoes, Polish Chapel
1899

Basilica of Saint Anthony, Polish Chapel
Restoration by Elżbieta Barbara Lenart, commissioned by the Krakow National Museum
and funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
December 2017

 

©Photographs by E. Barbara Lenart.

Some years ago, the gate of Alberto Calligaris, an Art Nouveau triumph, had been returned to its precious chromaticism, and now the restoration of one of the radial chapels, that we are accustomed to seeing dark and closed, has brought back to life the frescoes, revealing the intense colours and a spectacular technique implemented by the painter Taduesz Popiel, who realized them at the end of the nineteenth century, when Poland no longer existed, dismembered among the European powers.
This chapel and the various other restorations carried out in the Basilica depict a world of Art Nouveau that probably had a fundamental centre in Padua and in the Basilica of Saint Anthony.
The important links between the Saint and Poland are also attested by the commitment of the Polish nation that, through the Krakow National Museum, commissioned the restorer E. Barbara Lenart and financed the works with funds from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Completed Projects ultima modifica: 2018-03-14T15:24:08+02:00 da atmansviluppo