Ars Artem Salvat
The Festival, like all activities of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra, is aimed at sensitizing the public to its institutional aims: to safeguard, preserve, promote and develop the cultural patrimony present in Italy and to raise funds for restoration projects. Economically, the Fondazione reaches its objectives with generic contributions to its institutional activities. These are either specific contributions or the sponsoring of concerts organised by the Fondazione. Since its foundation in 2002 and with the help of its supporters and sponsors, the Fondazione Pro Musica has been able to support 19 important and often demanding restoration projects (for more details please see "Foundation")
Those who contribute to the year 2017 (and also attend the 16th International Festival of Sacred Music and Art), also support the restoration projects of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra. During the 2017-2019 period, the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra will be supporting the following restoration and musical projects:
• the International festival of Sacred Music and Art;
• the restoration of the tambours of the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica and of the smaller cupolas
of the Chapels Gregoriana and Clementina;
• the presence of the Choir of Westminster Abbey in Rome on the occasion of the vespers for the conversion
of St Paul the Apostle presided by Pope Francis
RESTORATION OF THE EXTERIOR OF ST PETER'S BASILICA
The painstaking restoration of the exterior of St Peter's, commenced by the Fabric of Saint Peter on the eve of the Holy Year of 2000 within the framework of a complex plan of protection and refurbishment, has been resumed and carried forward with renewed commitment and meticulous care over the last seven years with the support of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra.
After the restoration of themain façade in 1999, plans were developed for the necessary work on the south, west and north sides, which are about 46 metres in height and present a total surface area of over 35,000 square metres. Restoration of the south façade was completed in three successive phases of painstaking work over just five years (April 2007 - May 2012). The third phase, regarding the central element of the basilica designed on a Greek cross plan in the 16th century by Michelangelo, was carried out with support from the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra, which is also funding the restoration of the west façade including the external apse of St Peter's, commenced in 2012 and scheduled for completion this year.
The by no means easy work is carried out by highly qualified restorers under the technical and scientific supervision of the Fabric of Saint Peter. Their patient, silent and untiring efforts are flanked by those of the "Sanpietrini" responsible for all the masonry work, including removal of the old tiled roofs of the attic cornice and entablature, and the subsequent installation of slabs of travertine to protect the structure as a whole. The necessary diagnostic investigations have also been carried out with photographs taken (before, during and after the restoration) and surveying with a laser scanner. This graphic and photographic documentation was completed with all the information regarding preservation of the materials and identification of the various kinds of deterioration present on the stone and attributable to chemical, physical and mechanical causes, thus serving as a basis for the analysis and mapping of decay and subsequent representation
of the various operations of restoration. Jets of water were used to clean the travertine surface and the more stubborn black incrustations were removed by means of micro-sandblasting at moderate pressure with inert materials of reduced hardness in order to preserve the patina built up over time (the JOS system already tested and used in the restoration of the main façade).
The restoration also constituted a unique and unrepeatable opportunity for knowledge, not least through the close examination of architectural details located in the higher parts of the basilica. It is therefore hardly surprising that the recent work undertaken by the Fabric of Saint Peter made it possible for the first time to identify and examine certain elements of Michelangelo's architecture with wonderful figural sculptures whose sophisticated elegance is not visible from below.
While the restoration of the west side, corresponding to the rear of the basilica, is nearing completion, the Fabric of Saint Peter, once again with the support and collaboration of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra, has developed plans for the continuation of operations also on the 16th-century north side facing the area known as the Via delle Fondamenta.
This restoration will involve a surface area of approximately 6,800 square metres and take about two years (2014–16).
It is interesting to note that the latter highly demanding restoration project was launched in 2014, the year marking the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564). It was in fact Michelangelo that designed and built this part of the basilica's exterior (apart from the minor stretch at the left end) between 1546 and 1564. It was during the pontificate of Julius III (1550–55), Paul IV (1555–59) and Pius IV (1559–65) that Michelangelo completed the apse and the oblique sides and began the construction of the attic and the foundations of the linear sides of the exterior, which were completed in 1590 by his successor, the architect Giacomo Della Porta (1533–1602).