Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Hidden masterpiece uncovered
Friday, June 19, 2009

Catherine Deshayes

Pope Benedict XVI is to unveil a hidden Michelangelo masterpiece restored to its former glory during a private ceremony at the start of July…

The Pauline Chapel, which serves as the parish church of the Vatican, will reopen for business after seven years of restoration, Vatican Museum Director Antonio Paolucci has announced.

Writing in an article in the Catholic daily L’Osservatore Romano, Paolucci said the pope would oversee an opening ceremony on July 4th.
He added that the restoration work had finished ahead of an original June 29th, 2009 deadline, although considerable extra efforts had been made over the last 18 months to ensure this was met.

Cleaning and restoration work on the chapel, which is just down the corridor from the more famous Sistine Chapel, got under way in 2002.

It is best known for housing Michelangelo’s last frescos, ‘The Conversion of Saul’ and the ‘Martyrdom of St Peter’.

The massive works flank each side of the chapel, which is strictly off limits to the public,
The chapel is usually only used by the pope and those closest to him for private masses although it has also been used for conclaves of cardinals when the Sistine Chapel is not available.

Commissioned by Pope Paul III in 1537 and completed in 1540, the chapel’s design and construction was overseen by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.

Michelangelo had decorated most of the Sistine Chapel 29 years earlier but had returned to the site to add The Last Judgment, which he finished in 1541.

A favourite of the pope and considered a master frescoist, he was the natural choice for the Pauline Chapel, which he started work on the following year and completed at the age of 75 in 1550.

He lived another 14 years working as chief architect on St Peter’s Basilica but the Pauline Chapel works were his last ever frescos.

The Holy See has used its restorers and experts to repair the Pauline Chapel, which will remain a hidden Vatican treasure, even after the restoration.

The cost of the cleaning has largely been funded by private donors.

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