Skip to content Skip to footer
Caricamento Eventi

Sculptures restored after the earthquake

The Ancient Seat of the Money Changers’ Guild, one of the oldest institutions in Perugia, mainly aims at the preservation, enhancement and restoration of its artistic heritage. Following the seismic events in 2016, that caused incalculable damage and disrupted the lives of thousands of people, the Body’s representatives felt the need to offer a contribution to the rebirth of the most affected places in the Valnerina Valley.

In full coherence with its institutional end, the Money Changers’ Guild has therefore deliberated to restore the three sculptures object of this exhibition, indentified together with the Superintendency. The skilful restoration of the three wooden carvings, characterized by an extraordinary realism and by a strong expressive charge, has restored their original splendour and allowed us to display them in their newfound integrity before they are reallocated to their original places.

(Vincenzo Ansidei of Catrano – Rector of the Money Changers’ Guild).

The wooden group – a crucified Christ , a grieving Madonna and a Saint Francis – is the fruit of an assembly which took place in an unspecified period. After examining the statues it was found that they have different stylistic declinations.

The three wooden carvings come from the parish church of the Holy Mary of Grace in Saint Anatolia di Narco, but it is not known whether they were originally in this building or from another place of worship.
The Crucified Christ, of remarkable workmanship, is made with extraordinary anatomic realism and powerful expressive charge. The ribs, arms, leg and feet are modelled with great skill; the tension of the muscles, the vibrations of the tendons, the unspeakable pain on the face produce active participation and deep emotional involvement in the observer. The whole body, helpless and exhausted, bears the signs of the violence suffered during the stages of the Passion. But the most striking detail is the crown of thorns planted on the head: a far from idealized instrument of torture, made using real bramble thorns.

A close examination of the statue shows a proximity to Florentine models of the early 16th century. The Crucifix by Francesco da Sangallo made for the convent of the Oblates in Florence comes to mind. In general one can affirm the typological continuity of our Crucifix with the works of Baccio da Montelupo, author of Christs on the cross where the sculptured evidence of the forms serves as a model for numerous subsequent declinations. The Christ of Saint Anatolia di Narco, which can be fully framed in this context, stands out for the accuracy of the anatomic study, the finesse of the details and the convincing realism. Ultimately we are faced with a masterpiece, probably attributed to Francesco da Sangallo and datable to around 1520.

The skilful restoration of the sculpture, whose authentic beauty was covered by layers of superficial deposits and oxidised protective varnishes, has handed the work back – almost intact – its original polychromy and has presented us with its special chromatic modulation, a purplish white, chosen by the artist to underline the moment of passage and human nature, even before the divine one, of the body of Christ.

Quite contemporary, but from another cultural sphere, are the statues of Our Lady of Sorrows and Saint Francis. Expression of a popular devotion prone to pathos and contrition, the two effigies are characterised by the signs of pain on their faces and the declamatory and theatrical poses. The Virgin, with folded hands, manifests her desperation by looking upward. Here the realism, pushed to the limits of caricature, concentrates on the half-closed mouth showing the teeth and tongue, while the nose, cheeks and chin are of an intense pink. The statue’s centre of gravity is noticeably shifted to the right to accentuate the momentum towards Christ. Conceived to be seen from below and from a certain distance, the sculpture respects the prospective rule of making those parts closer to the viewer larger and those further away smaller.
This justifies the apparent disproportion between the hands and head. Just like Our Lady of Sorrows , also Saint Francis seems to take part in this “theatre” both moving and painful. He spreads his arms to highlight, alter Christus, the stigmata, the signs of his closeness to the Redeemer; just as one can see the wound on his side through a gap in his tunic which just goes deep enough to show the bleeding flesh. It is not easy to inscribe these statues in a precise historical-artistic context.

(Francesco Federico Mancini).

© 2023 Nobile Collegio del Cambio
Tutti i diritti sono riservati | Privacy e Cookie Policy

 powered by
Euromedia S.r.l.