Contemporary artists are helping to restore a 15th century colleague’s fresco in Viterbo’s oldest church, S.Maria Nuova. Instead of depending exclusively on the generosity of the local Rotary Club and banks, the parish decided to involve art lovers too, giving them a chance to purchase works donated by well known artists and private collectors.
Artisti per l’Arte (Artists for Art) is open on Saturday afternoons in May, June, July and September collecting donations for works of art and antiques to help finance the restoration of one of the church’s famous 15th century frescoes by Antonio del Massaro, known as Pastura (1450-1516).
Amadori, Cantatore, Cesetti, Ioppolo, Veltroni, Ludovisi, Muratore and sculptor Mario Vinci are a few of the artists whose works can be admired and purchased.
A Byzantine “queen chair” by Vinci decorates the entrance of the former fruit shop where the exhibit is being held on Via Cardinal La Fontaine, 21 near the San Pellegrino medieval quarter.
Besides the paintings and sculptures there are also many antique objects in copper, glass, wrought iron and terracotta donated by private collectors which are available for a small donation.
The volunteers hesitated to give prices since it is not a regular shop, but I spotted some copper jugs “suggested” at 50 euro as well as brass lamps and glass ware at very low “donation” prices.
Besides its fresco cycle, S.Maria Nuova is known for the Longobard cloister recently brought back to light and for the stone pulpit on the church’s corner where St.Thomas Aquinas used to preach to crowds gathered in the piazza.
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