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The “Il Bel San Michele” Association o.n.l.u.s. born November 29, 2011 on the initiative of a group of citizens from Pavia to develop actions to safeguard, protect, promote and enhance the artistic, architectural and historical value of the important Romanesque-Lombard Basilica of San Michele Maggiore in Pavia.
The association is based in Piazzetta Azzani 1 in Pavia and pursues exclusively purposes of social solidarity, it is non-profit and has, among other things, the subject of interventions to protect and enhance the cultural heritage and the landscape; of scientific research of particular social interest; organization and management of cultural, artistic or recreational activities of social interest, including publishing activities; promotion and dissemination of culture and the practice of volunteering; organization and management of tourism initiatives of social, cultural or religious interest; it can also raise funds, also in an organized and continuous form, from private individuals, organizations, public and private institutions, always aimed at the recovery, restoration and enhancement of the San Michele complex.
The association, in these years, has operated along the following lines:
- KNOW the Basilica in an integral and integrated way in its architectural features and in its historical role;
- TO PROMOTE a widespread knowledge at the Pavese Community of the basilica, as a “cultural heritage to be transmitted to future generations”;
- DISCUSS the content and significance of the Basilica, both internationally and in Italian, with many publications and appearances in various associations;
- DEVELOP actions for the restoration of the Basilica: an operational agreement is in place with the Parish and is the recipient of contributions for the restoration;
- IMPROVE the reception of visitors, tourists, pilgrims (annual attendance: about 100,000) for a better understanding of the contents of the Basilica;
- OPERATE online with other associations or organizations for the promotion of cultural, historical and popular identity of this territory as a useful asset to govern the future
These reasons have led our Association to select a fresco in the Basilica of San Michele that had particular need to be restored and restored to its former glory.
The coronations painted in fresco in the fifteenth century, orchestrated in a very explicit way in areas of absolute evidence, are reiterated evocations to emphasize in St. Michael the basilica of the royal coronations, the palatine basilica linked to the royal palace.
The privilege of being the place of coronation of the Lombard kings is recalled, in the basilica of San Michele Maggiore in Pavia, with the fresco in the vault of the main nave, commissioned by the provost Geronimo Varisio da Rosate in 1489-90.
A king crowned by St. Michael the Archangel, Sant ‘Ennodio and Sant’ Eleucadio where, however, the ceremonial of the coronation of the Italic kings is reflected, as the crown also indicates, while in the laying on of the hands of the two holy bishops it consisted of the elevation of the kings Longobards to the throne.
The same Emperor Constantine resembles, without excluding the possible allusion to a Longobard king with long hair, mustache and beard (Lang – bart: from the long beard) or to Federico Barbarossa.
RESTORATION AFFRESCO INCORONATION
- General verification of the adhesion state of the plaster layers to the substrate by careful beating of the plaster.
- Diagnostic investigations aimed at verifying with stratigraphic inserts of any underlying pictorial decorations, laboratory investigations on thin sections glossy transverse sections for stereomicroscope and SEM observation, EDS spectroscopy for inorganic materials and FTIR spectroscopy for organic
- Surface pre-consolidation of parts of plaster subject to detachment. The choice of material will be made after a suitable test phase
- Removal of soluble salts by applying compresses of absorbent natural clays such as sepiolite or attapulgite, applied to the surfaces after interposition of Japanese tissue, manual description of the layers superimposed on the wall paintings, in case the diagnostic investigations confirm the presence of pictorial decorations below the layer currently visible.
- In-depth consolidation of the support layers, also in this case after an appropriate testing phase, by syringe injection of suitably selected hydraulic mortars and aggregates.
- Cleaning of any pictorial decorations found and recovered in the descialbo phase. This extremely delicate phase involves a long sampling of products and application times, starting from milder cleanings, such as simple demineralised water with a pad or paper pulp, to achieve more incisive cleaning
- Grouting of the gaps with a mortar based on natural lime and aggregates selected for granulometry and color similar to the original.
- Pictorial retouching, in the case of pictorial decorations, to be carried out with watercolor colors and the technique of striped in the case of small-sized backgrounds, with natural pigments dispersed in milk of lime in the case of larger areas or in the case of glazing of Unfolded plasters. This phase will be carefully evaluated with the technicians of the competent Superintendency to decide the technical specifications of the retouching
- Complete restoration of the fresco, including preconsolidation, removal of salts, consolidation in depth, grouting of the lesions and final pictorial retouching
- Restoration of the side walls, in exposed brick, taking care to remove the soluble salts as described above and clean the surfaces by washing with demineralized water.
Amount of the intervention shown (including provisional works): € 35,000.00 Technical expenses (design, safety, construction supervision, etc.): € 5,000.00