Pomposa Abbey, restoration of frescoes and crucifix in St. Mary's church kicks off

Restoration work has begun on the frescoes and Crucifix at St. Mary of Pomposa Church.

Restoration work on the frescoes and Crucifix of the Church of Santa Maria di Pomposa began a few days ago. These are in continuation with the interventions to the frescoes of the aisles started in 2010 by the former Superintendence of Architecture and Landscape of Ravenna, then continued between 2012 and 2014.

In fact, already in 2010, by starting a pilot worksite that involved a first span, a different approach to the maintenance intervention of the frescoes had been sought: instead of “chasing” the damage or the danger, amulti-year maintenance program had been evaluated, proceeding according to a coherent methodological approach adapted to the different problems. Today, therefore, the intervention will be on the pictorial surfaces of the aisles, which, especially on the left side facing north, present a more serious state of preservation.

“It was necessary to intervene,” let the director of the complex Serena Ciliani know, “in order not to leave unfinished a good design practice and continuing the conservation of these works of considerable historical as well as aesthetic importance.”

Specifically, the restoration and maintenance work to be carried out in the coming months will affect the pictorial wall surface of the end of the left aisle and the Crucifix placed on the north wall of the aisle itself. According to the methodology already identified in the previous worksites conducted on this side of the church, they will proceed, depending on the case histories of degradation found, with cleaning and consolidation operations of the pictorial film. As for the Crucifix (datable between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th), affected by extensive degradation phenomena, an initial cleaning phase will be followed by consolidation, cleaning and possible additions, which will then lead to the relocation of the wooden sculpture in its place.

“Particular attention,” continues director Ciliani, "will also be given to the figurative panel of the Madonna Enthroned and the scene below of the people at prayer, where a series of laboratory investigations will be carried out to characterize more specifically the materials and the state of degradation. This pictorial work in fact seems to present differences from the rest of the fourteenth-century wall decoration."

As in past interventions, and given the importance of the work to be carried out, the working group will include architect Keoma Ambrogio of the Bologna Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio; while restorer Giovanni Giannelli will carry out the work, which will be completed by early 2022. All operations will be coordinated by officials of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Museums Directorate.

“It is possible,” concludes director Ciliani, "that these works, in addition to ensuring good conservation, will also increase our knowledge or lead to new discoveries related to the execution technique. The works carried out between 2010 and 2014 allowed us to rediscover a complexity of layers of the paintings that had previously been ignored. Each intervention can thus be an opportunity to reconnect with the heritage and the various historical phases of drafting and restoration."

Pomposa Abbey, restoration of frescoes and crucifix in St. Mary's church kicks off
Pomposa Abbey, restoration of frescoes and crucifix in St. Mary's church kicks off

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