22 May A FRESCO TO COMMEMORATE THE CANONISATION OF POPE JOHN XXIII AND POPE JOHN PAUL II
On 27 April 2014, in St Peter’s square, thousands of people witnessed the historic canonisation of two former popes: John XXIII and John Paul II, celebrated by Pope Francis with the help of Pope Benedict XVI. This memorable event in the history of the Church was a joyous experience for millions or even billions of people.
Many faithful and collectors would like to own a work that celebrates the two sanctified Popes. For this purpose, a customer commissioned Mariani Affreschi to create two special frescoes: a portrait of Pope John XXIII and one of Pope John Paul II.
The two paintings were ordered by an American dealer specialising in religious items, and will be included in a special catalogue to ensure that customers can buy multiple copies of the same work authenticated by Mariani Affreschi.
We decided to pay tribute to art lovers by publishing exclusive photos of the two frescoes.
Like most of the works produced by Mariani Affreschi, these paintings were created using the authentic “strappo” technique (“Calicot” method), which consists of two stages: the actual painting of the fresco and its transfer onto canvas. Let’s examine this in detail.
By definition, the fresco is a painting painted on a fresh (plaster) base with natural colours (pigments) and lime mortar. The procedure requires great experience and speed because the work must be completed before the plaster dries.
An artist painting the fresco (of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII) with natural earth pigments on plaster and lime mortar
When the painting is finished, the artist gives the work to the “strappo” technicians, who prepare a special glue to be spread over the fresco on which is then applied a canvas. When the glue dries, the canvas is pulled off and the painting remains stuck to the canvas in “negative”.
An expert glues the first canvas onto the finished fresco painting
Once the glue is dry, the fresco is pulled off. The wall layer remains glued to the canvas and a “negative” image of the painting can be seen
The second stage called “riporto” involves transferring the fresco to a second canvas, using new glue different from the first. After being left to dry for a few days, the fresco is washed and the first canvas is removed, thus bringing it back to “positive” on the second canvas.
The washing stage removes the first glue and leaves a “positive” image of the fresco on the second canvas
The fresco painting is then framed and retouched to revive the colours after this intense process.
After framing the fresco, the restorer adds some finishing touches
Fresco painting guarantees extremely natural and long-lasting colours that preserve the images over time. Never has this procedure been more suited to celebrate an historic event destined to be remembered for centuries.
The completed work: the frescoed portrait of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII