Sunday, January 4, 2015

Forgotten Paintings in Viterbo Exhibit

Along with the Sacred and Profane exhibit visited and described in last week's article, Viterbo  offers another  niche art show-Immagini  della Vergine- which  is a perfect theme  for the Christmas season. A dozen large sized paintings from churches and convents of the Diocese of Viterbo are exhibited together in the majestic  Conclave hall of the ancient Papal Palace in Viterbo.
blue boxes ..

Many of the large  paintings  have been recently restored and  had never been seen  or published before. During the  centuries  since they were commissioned,  most  have been hidden away  in obscure churches and monasteries of the Diocese, known only to the religious  in residence.  

 Among the artists Palma il Giovane, Federico Mozzanti and Antonio Berzettoni.

 My favorite  is the  magnificent  Immacolata with the Dukes of Latera, from the S. Maria della Grazie monastery in the town of  Farnese. Here  angels in diaphanous striped robes and peacock feathered wings create a magical atmosphere  heightened by the  girl in the forefront gazing out at spectators.

 Another delicate  Madonna with child and saints  from church of S. Giovanni Battista  in the town of Grotte di Castro is  exhibited here and published for the first time.

Several other small towns of the Viterbo Diocese (Onano, Latera, Valentano  and Canino) have lent  images of the Virgin  for the exhibit in the Papal Palace  which lasts until February 1st
souls in purgatory 

transport of the holy house
The Bishop’s residence, adjacent to the Papal Palace, loaned  a large, newly restored banner as well as paintings of the Annunciation, the transport of the holy house and the  mystical marriage of Santa Caterina.

the papal loggia  

The show, Immagini della Vergine,  is also a chance to see the inside of the  Palace where the first Papal Conclave was held in the mid 1200s. 

 The architectural details of the palazzo  include primitive stone pavements and a  soaring wooden roof , the original one was removed  “to let in the Holy Spirit” and help  the cardinals decide  who was to become  the next pope. 

Art historian Mari   and archeologist Alberto Pichardo greet visitors
The atmosphere created by the historic building, the modern framing  and  appropriate  music  make the visit, coordinated by  Giannino Tiziani,  a multi-sensorial one.  
Art historians  will enjoy the detailed  catalogue  of the exhibit  published  by Edizioni Archeoares, a branch of Archeoares which is celebrating  its  10th anniversary as managers of the museum complex  this month. Compliments  go to threesome  Francesco Aliperti, Bruno Blanco and Giampaolo Serone  for their  professionalism and hard work in the past 10 years.  

You will find more information about Viterbo, the Papal Palace complex  and all the Etruria/Tuscia/Viterbese area  on my website  
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I will be pleased to meet readers at upcoming events: February  20 at the  Vetralla library and  March 19 at the Museo Civico  in Viterbo.  Sign up  to follow the blog and befriend me on  Facebook  to keep in the loop and receive updates . 


  1. I love the angel in the striped nightgown! How nice that these almost unknown works have been brought back to life.

  2. Another update to the Museo del Duomo is now underway, I am presently translating descriptions for the many important works of art in Museum and there will be a big anniversary party for the 10th anniversary of Archeoares in a week's time. Stay tuned!