Perugia, Raphael and Perugino frescoes in San Severo Chapel restored

Restoration of the Trinity with Saints, a masterpiece by Raphael and Perugino in the Chapel of San Severo, ends in Perugia. Funds for the work were provided by the great photographer Steve McCurry.

In Perugia the restoration of the frescoes in the Chapel of San Severo, depicting the Trinity with Benedictine and Camaldolese saints, a work created starting in 1505 by the young Raphael Sanzio, left unfinished by the artist in 1508 after his departure for Rome, and then finished between 1520 and 1521 by Perugino, Raphael’s master, is now finished. It is the only work made by Raphael for Perugia that has remained in the Umbrian capital, and the only work where it is possible to see together, and quite distinctly, the interventions of the Urbino and his master.

The conservation work, which involved the maintenance and restoration of Raphael’s and Perugino’s frescoes and the 16th-century polychrome terracotta sculpture by the Cooperativa Conservazione Beni Culturali, was accompanied by a functional recovery of the museum space, through the creation of a modern lighting system, with iGuzzini materials, and the control of environmental conditions, which made it possible to improve the reception of visitors and ensure optimal enjoyment of the property.

Cooperative Cbc restorers Elena Mercanti and Paola Mancini explained that the frescoes showed a general darkening due to the presence of fixatives, which were removed to bring back brightness and colors. A delicate work of consolidation of the plaster and paint film was also carried out. As for the sculpture, chromatics and features previously not fully appreciable were brought back to light. The intervention was carried out thanks to the resources donated by the great photographer Steve McCurry, according to the agreements established on the occasion of the exhibition Sensational Umbria by Steve McCurry, organized in 2014-2015 in theFormer Fatebenefratelli Hospital and the Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna, with the general coordination of the Region of Umbria, the project supervision of the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio dell’Umbria, in agreement with the Municipality of Perugia, and the organization of the then concessionaire of museum services Sistema Museo, which, today, has coordinated the entire operation. In addition to the Superintendency and the Public Works Area of the Municipality of Perugia, thanks were also expressed to the current concessionaire of services for the public in the municipal museum circuit, Munus srl, for their cooperation in the realization of the project.

Raphael's Trinity after restoration. Photo Municipality of Perugia
Raphael’s Trinity after restoration. Photo Municipality of Perugia
Perugino's saints after restoration. Photo Municipality of Perugia
Perugino’s saints after restoration. Photo Municipality of Perugia

The Chapel of San Severo, moreover, benefits from what has been produced as part of the Save the beauty project by Umbria 24 Soc. Coop. a.r.l., financed by the Region of Umbria under the Por Fesr 2014-20 (Axis 3 Specific Objective 3.2, Action 3.2.1 “Support for the development of products and services complementary to the enhancement of identified cultural and natural attractions of the territory, including through the integration between companies in the cultural creative and entertainment supply chains”). The Municipality of Perugia immediately offered support to the initiative, a concrete example of good practice in valorization. Last September, as explained by the project’s creator, Monica La Torre, the Chapel of San Severo and the Templar complex of San Bevignate witnessed the arrival of researchers and technicians from the Enea laboratories of the Frascati Research Center, engaged in three-dimensional scanning and laser-induced fluorescence operations to monitor the frescoes. Presented in 2017 at RomArché - Archaeological Publishing Salon at the Museum of the Baths of Diocletian, Save the Beauty was created to enhance, digitize, protect and increase the accessibility of strategic national cultural attractions through the use of new technologies for communication. In fact, the information acquired through laser scanning has been transformed into multimedia applications, immediately usable by the museum sites’ users.

The Umbrian declination of the Save The Beauty project, in addition to the sites owned by the Perugia administration, also involved the territories of Terni, Nocera Umbra, Gualdo Tadino, Todi and Isola Polvese and was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the University of Perugia - Department of Letters, Languages, Literature and Ancient and Modern Civilizations.

“We are celebrating the reopening of the Chapel of San Severo by presenting interventions that take place at a special moment, between the fifth centenary of Raphael and that of Perugino, and which represent the fruit of numerous and valuable collaborations,” said Perugia Municipality Culture Councillor Leonardo Varasano, who introduced the day before yesterday’smeeting at which the operations of adaptation, conservation and enhancement of the Chapel in Raphael Square carried out by the Municipality of Perugia in agreement with the Region of Umbria, represented by Antonella Pinna, director of the Cultural Resources, Museums, Archives and Libraries Enhancement Service, were reviewed. “The Chapel of San Severo, a flagship cultural asset in 2020 and 2021, which recorded 30,000 admissions in two months in both years,” Varasano stressed, “is projected toward the summer period even more beautiful and welcoming thanks to the synergies put in place so far and also to the great commitment of the Municipality’s Culture Operating Unit.” The chapel is scheduled to open in April every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Perugia, Raphael and Perugino frescoes in San Severo Chapel restored
Perugia, Raphael and Perugino frescoes in San Severo Chapel restored

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