Friday, April 07, 2006

Fresco Restoration

Last fresco fragments restored in Assisi basilica

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

ASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Restorers have replaced the last fresco fragments in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, more than eight years after an earthquake sent parts of the ceiling crashing to the floor.

With the aid of computer technology, experts were able to recompose most of the damaged images -- including an archway with Sts. Francis and Clare, and a rib vault decorated with a depiction of St. Jerome at his desk.

St. Matthew did not fare as well: His image today, high above the main altar, is a series of chromatic stains against a white background.

"We preserved a relic of this major work by (Giovanni) Cimabue, but not the work itself," Giuseppe Basile, who oversaw the restoration project, told a press conference in Assisi April 5.