USD $2,400,000. The California Patrons are sponsoring our most ambitious restoration over the last thirty (30) years. We have adopted the Gallery of the Maps, a collection of 40+ maps, one of the most magnificent places in the Vatican Museums. Pope Gregory XIII commissioned the Gallery in 1578. It is over a football field in length, twenty feet wide, and covered with a barrel vault three stories tall. Thirty-four bay windows, decorated in grotesque style, line the hallways and provide views to the Papal Gardens and the inner courtyards of the Apostolic Palace. The long, straight room connects the Sistine Chapel with the Tower of the Winds. The Gallery is decorated with forty large maps depicting the Italy of the late 1500’s. They were painted between 1580 and 1583 by the renowned cartographer and painter Ignacio Danti and form the largest geographic and cartographic cycle in the world.

The frescos start with the southernmost lands and advance up the Apennine Mountains with the territories facing the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas on the east and the regions facing the Adriatic Sea and the Alps on the west. The pope could walk the breadth of Italy without leaving his home. Now, five million visitors a year walk the same corridor, surrounded by the detailed and accurate depictions of the 16th century Italian world.

Centuries of sun, rain and dust on a settling foundation have taken their toll. The Patrons are funding the $2.4 million, three-year restoration project. Previously, the successful $900,000 campaign for the restoration of the Sistine Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore constituted our largest undertaking. Due to a generous gift of $1.2 million from a Patron for half of the sponsorship, the California Patrons will raise $1.2 million more for the Maps Project. To fund our commitment, individual maps can be sponsored at the $35,000 or $70,000 level (payable over time). Each contributor and the sponsored map will be commemorated at the Gallery of the Maps. Several maps have already been adopted. For futher information, please contact Campaign Chair Maria Grant (626-441-2935, ragmo@aol.com) or Patron Chair Michael Feeley

USD $350,000. The California Patrons are sponsoring the restoration of the original Lourdes  Grotto in the Vatican Gardens. This artificial cave was built in 1902-05 as a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France that is frequented by the Order of Malta. Pope Francis, a day after his appointment as the new Roman Pontiff, visited the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on the afternoon of 15 March 2013 and offered prayers before the statue of the Virgin Mary.

USD $900,000. The California Patrons are sponsoring the restoration of a portion of the Sistine Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore. Until the recently completed Gallery of Maps restoration, this Sistine Chapel restoration was the largest project the California Patrons had undertaken together. With incredible generosity from our members, the California Patrons are able to undertake a variety of equally important projects that range from the very small to the incredibly large.

Although many of the degradation problems affecting the works were similar, the pieces displayed various levels of deterioration due to differences in placement (major or minor exposure to sunlight and rainfall), constituent materials, and the presence of previous restorations and/or the reassembly of fragments or parts of the works.

– General diagnosis of different pieces, conservation issues and more thorough fieldwork that will further define how to subdivide these costs over the course of the next years
– 4 month contracts for specialized restorations
– 2 month contracts for support workers
– All the infrastructure of the support above
– Transportation for the restorers and pieces
– Specific mechanical equipment for outdoor restoration
– The equipment for support of the graphic and photographic documentation of the intervention
– The costs for diagnostics in the field and laboratory analysis
– The identification of the weather most appropriate for the works,
future restorations and the successive maintenance of the artifacts
– The invention of a definitive strategy for restoration of the artifacts
and archaeological pieces in the Vatican Gardens.

Thanks to your generosity, phase one of this project was pledged last year. A pilot restoration site has been set up, and the project is moving forward; five sections have since been adopted. In this year’s Wishbook, we present to you the following three sections of the Vatican Garden, statuary, and artifacts in need of restoration.

The Vatican gardens have been a place of quiet meditation and re- flection for the Popes, ever since 1279, when Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace. Within the walls of his property, he planted an orchard, lawn, and garden. The gardens, “Palazzetto del Belvedere,” and courtyards of the Vatican Museums are located on the same ground where Nero’s Circus once stood, and where early Christians, including St. Peter, were martyred. According to tradition, St. Helena symbolically scattered earth brought from Golgotha on the Vatican Gardens to unite the blood of Christ with that shed by thousands of early Christians who died under the persecution of Nero.

Today’s Vatican Gardens stretch across an area of nearly 58 acres that constitutes over half of Vatican territory. This oasis includes lush gardens filled with winding paths, vibrant flower beds and topiaries, green lawns, groves of massive oaks, and a 7.4 acre forest. There are also ancient fountains, sculptures, and grottoes dedicated to the Madonna, St. Joseph, St. Peter, and other saints.

The Gardens are complete with birds, fountains, flora, and fauna, and they epitomize the harmony and peace found in nature. They remind us of our original role as beings destined to coexist with God, nature, and one another. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed,” writes Genesis 2:8. These idyllic parks also make us think of our eternal home where all of creation will unite in the shared experience of paradise.

The Vatican grounds represent one of the most unique gardens in the world because the landscape was formed on hallowed ground and, thus, sewn with faith and hope. Many popes have prayed surrounded by this verdant haven. Pope John XXIII often reflected in the gardens as he prepared to lead the church through the Second Vatican Council, and John Paul II often invited young people to pray the rosary with him at the Lourdes shrine atop the Vatican Gardens. The Gardens are also where Pope Benedict XVI prayed his daily rosary.

Restoration of the entire collection of artwork located within the Papal Gardens has never before been performed, making this a historic undertaking.

The Marble and the Metal Restoration Laboratories, together with the General Maintenance team of the Vatican, collaborated to assess the state of conservation of the Garden’s many artifacts. Then, representatives visited various gardens around Europe, including the gardens at Versailles, to learn more about different restoration methods and techniques. Simultaneously, an inventory and specific report was made for each of the over 600 pieces in the gardens in order to determine the following background information for each object: age of the artifact, constituent materials, former interventions of reassembly or the insertion of new stone parts, presence of metal pins, location within the Gardens, and degree of exposure to the elements. An unfortunate state of degradation affects a large number of the sculptures, and the general lack of maintenance is visible. The product of this careful study now fills a three volume work that advocates an urgent restoration project to conserve all of the artifacts in the Gardens.

USD $40,000. The California Patrons created and continue to sponsor an eleven (11) month paid internship for the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. This important position provides general salary funding for extra help around the office and provides interns with unique access to both the Vatican Museums and the office of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. These internships have been going for many years and will likely continue to be funded by the California Patrons.

USD $10,500. The California Patrons have restored Antonio Canova’s Creugas and Damoxenos statues that will flank Perseus in the Octogonal Courtyard of the Vatican Museums. Antonio Canova (1757-1822) was a great Venetian sculptor who loved the classical subjects and is revered as the master of neoclassical sculpture with a contemporary flair

USD $5,555. The California Patrons have sponsored the restoration of a special 14th century statue of Madonna and Child that has been displayed for years in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Holy Father’s celebration of Christmas Mass. The tradition discontinued because the statue, dating from the 1300s, made of painted wood and standing 165 centimeters high, needed restoration.

Dating from the 1300s, it is attributed to an unknown Lombard carver called the “Master of the Pinacoteca di Como.” Lombardia sat at a crossroads of many cultures. The statue reflects both the influence of Campionese artists in its structure and the Alpine influences in the composed smiling expressions of the figures’ faces.

Seven centuries have taken their toll. The Madonna’s crown and scepter have been lost and the Child is missing two fingers held up in blessing. Much of the original color has disappeared from the surface of the once sumptuous red and gold dress embellished with floral designs. Varnishes and glues have darkened the overall surface of the carving. Xylophage insects have attacked the piece and caused extensive damage, particularly on the left side and the base. Fortunately, the internal structure remained intact.

Two experts tacked the restoration. Angela Cerreta focused on reintegration of the colors and Massimo Alesi concentrated on the wooden supports. First, the statue underwent anoxic treatment in which the statue was placed in a sealed plastic envelope and nitrogen replaced the air. This killed the insects. The surface was cleaned and the structural supports strengthened. Then the restorers reaffixed the flaking color with syringes filled with hot glue. Various insect holes were filled with a mixture of glue and sawdust. Rather than repaint, a light shading appropriate to the surrounding colors was applied. The restorers completed the work recently so hopefully the Madonna and Child will resume their place in St. Peter’s for future Christmas celebrations.

The California Patrons have partnered with Olessa Kantor (Italian Patrons) in the selection and purchase of another EOS Syntesis portable laser. Popular with Vatican restoration experts, this type of laser can clean paper, wood, metal, stone, wall paintings (frescos), and stucco. This portable laser can easily be taken to almost every part of the Vatican Museums. And it allows restorers to tune the pulse duration by nanoseconds to hundredths of a nanosecond to microseconds.

USD. $16,800. The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly called the Vatican Library or simply the Vat, is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Formally established in 1475, although it is much older, it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.

The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology. The Vatican Library is open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail. In March 2014, the Vatican Library began an initial four-year project of digitizing its collection of manuscripts, to be made available online.

The Vatican Secret Archives were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; they contain another 150,000 items.

The California Patrons have sponsored a new wheelchair lift for the daily use of visitors throughout the Vatican Museums. With approximately six million on-site visitors per year, the Vatican Museums are one of the most popular museums in the world. As a result, many visitors who come to see the exhibits are in need of another wheelchair lift to make their visit and tour more comfortable.