Save a fresco



A fundraising campaign for the restoration of the frescoes of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi has been launched by the Friars of the Sacred Convent to save the paintings of the seventeenth and fourteenth century masters who have "written" the story of art in Assisi. The aim of the Franciscans is to bring to "light" 620 square meters of frescoes in the Lower Basilica that are in need of "special care". They are the frescos in the extension of the narthex, painted by Cesare Sermei, and in the Chapel of St. Catherine in need of restoration and maintenance operations that have already been approved by the Ministry of Historical and Artistic Heritage of Umbria. The cost of the overall project is €458,616.12, of which €175,999 is for the Chapel and €282,617.12 is for the remaining 420 sq m. To donate click here.
The seventeenth-century paintings along the narthex (entrance of the Lower Basilica) attributed to Sermei are damaged by water seepage, the causes of which have long been removed and therefore that remains is the delicate work of restoration of the decorated surfaces.
The Chapel of St. Catherine, work of the Bolognese Andrea de' Bartoli (1368) requires meticulous consolidation operations and securing of the paint film, fourteenth century plaster, removal of atmospheric particles and an update of the pictorial reintegration where works performed four decades ago show obvious alterations and "disharmony".
"This campaign starts from Assisi by raising public awareness on the importance and value of the frescoes in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi" states Father Enzo Fortunato, O.F.M.Conv., Director of the Press Office of the Sacred Convent in Assisi, "a priceless heritage that allows us, after almost 800 years, through the paintings of Giotto, Cimabue, Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Sermei, just to name a few, to convey the extraordinary figure of the Saint through what we call the first film in color. And it is only thanks to the 'preservation' of their frescoes that today one can still admire the beauty handed down over time".

In the Chapel of St. Catherine, built before 1343, Cardinal Egidio Albornoz was buried before his body was transferred to Spain in 1372. The lower part is covered in white and red stones and decorated with a cycle of frescoes dedicated to St. Catherine of Alessandria, work of the Bolognese Andrea de’ Bartoli (1368). The author himself painted the portrait of Cardinal Albornoz kneeling in front of three saints. Particularly noteworthy are the fourteenth-century windows depicting eighteen saints, most likely designed by Andrea da Bologna himself and carried out by Giovanni di Bonino and collaborators.

The two operations are part of a restoration and maintenance program planned by the General Archives of the Sacred Convent of Assisi that was started in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis which became necessary following the earthquake in 1997. In fact, the Lower Basilica was the part of the monument that the earthquake "spared" from collapse and significant instability and therefore, at the time, was excluded from real restoration and maintenance work, but was limited to monitoring operations since the Upper Basilica and Sacred Convent were the most affected by the earthquake.

The Chapel of St. Catherine or Chapel of the Crucifix (1368), work of Andrea de' Bartoli known as "da Bologna", with an area of 200 sq m will cost €175,999.00 and the narthex (XVII century) work of Cesare Sermei, 420 sq m will cost €282,617.12

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