I SHOW YOU THE STUNNING CRYPT IN ASSISI (ITALY) WHERE THE NATIONAL PREMIERE OF MY BOOK “FRANCESCO” (3rd VOLUME OF THE SERIES) TOOK PLACE

 

 

Photos Copyright:

Museo della Cattedrale e Cripta S.Rufino, Assisi, Italy

Roberto Alborghetti, Italy. 

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I lived an extraordinary meeting in the land of St. Francis, in Assisi (Italy) to present in national premiere the third volume of “Francesco”, the “first major historical illustrated biography of Pope Francis” that  I had the honour to write (Edizioni Velar). The event took place on Friday June 26, at the Cathedral of S.Rufino, specifically in the “very heart” of the city of Saint Francis, in the crypt which houses the S.Rufino museum and art gallery. I think images talk better than words (see the photo-gallery). 

Assisi Cathedral dedicated to San Rufino is a major church in Assisi, that has been important in the history of the Franciscan order. This stately church in Umbrian Romanesque style was the third church built on the same site to contain the remains of bishop Rufinus of Assisi, martyred in the 3rd century.

Under the cathedral there is a crypt – the presentation of my book took place there – with the pagan Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century, asserted to have once contained the remains of Saint Rufinus. It bears across its front, as many sarcophagi do, a bas-relief with the myth of Diana and Endymion, offering a pagan vision of tranquil afterlife. Here are also the Pozzo della Mensa, a medieval well and the ruins of a Carolingian cloister from the 10th century.

The Museo Diocesano e Cripta di San Rufino (Museum of the Cathedral and Crypt of San Rufino) was opened in 1941. It contains lot of works associated with the cathedral. I have to mention, for examples, the Front of 2nd century AD Roman sarcophagus con Nikai Clipeofore e a libation scene; the detached frescoes of Mary and Christ by the Master of Saint Clare (last quarter of the 13th century); the detached frescoes on Passion and Crucifixion by Puccio Capanna (1334), once in the Oratory of San Rufinuccio; the  Polyptych of the Story of San Rufino (1462) by Niccolò Alunno ; The Perkins collection composed of 32 works including Giovanni BoccatiJacopo della QuerciaFilippo LippiFrancesco di Giorgio Martini, and Giovanni Santi.

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http://www.assisimuseodiocesano.com/

Facebook Page: Museo diocesano e Cripta di S.Rufino

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THE MAKING OF “FRANCESCO”, MY BEST-SELLING BOOK ON POPE FRANCIS…/ A BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEOCLIP

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By Velar Press Office

“A great team for a great work”: this video shows some images about the making of “Francesco” (“Francis”) the first illustrated and historical biography – written by journalist and author Roberto Alborghetti for Velar-Elledici Publishing – about the new Pope.  This work is the result of the wonderful participation of many people – about 30 persons! – to whom we want to dedicate this videoclip. Without them, without the precious collaboration of each of them, we could never accomplish and complete this important and best selling book. The work (in Italian language, but publishing company is planning an English version for e-books market) was carried out in two versions: a single volume and a special edition in two volumes + slipcase.   

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Pope Francis and author Roberto Alborghetti during the private encounter in Casa Santa Marta (Vatican City, Rome) for the presentation of the biography.

Pope Francis and author Roberto Alborghetti during the private encounter in Casa Santa Marta (Vatican City, Rome) for the presentation of the biography.

6 MONTHS OF WORK, 340 IMAGES, UNPUBLISHED STORIES, TWO LARGE FORMAT VOLUMES…

Over 550,000 lines of text, 14 chapters, 340 photographs, 6 months of work and researches: these are the numbers that define the “first historical and illustrated biography” about new Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266 th Pope of history, the first to assume the name of Francis, the first South American Pope, the first Pope belonging to the Society of Jesus.

Francis” helps us to know a “son of Italian immigrants” who became the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The volumes – “the most-awaited event for Italian publishing industry” as media stated – dig deep into the historical records and documents starting from the news about the Pope’s family, reconstructing moments and facts concerning the emigration from Italy to Argentina, specifying dates, times and procedures.

The Author writes about the childhood of the future Pope Francis, his progressive steps in education, his lung disease, his religious vocation on the backdrop of social and historical scenarios of Argentina. “Francis” also delves into the distinctive elements of cultural education of the future Pope Francis, his relations with the  world of Latin American thinkers, authors and essayists (Jorge Luis Borges, Methol Ferre, Gera, Scannone) who drew new perspectives for South American continent. The book  contextualizes informations and news related to the evolution of social and historical periods in Argentina, as president Peron’s age. 

Unpublished testimonies help to discover Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his years at the helm of the Jesuits in Argentina, his pastoral insights, his role in saving lives during the military dictatorship (1976-1983), his experiences as rector at the Collegio Massimo in San Miguel, his presence in the “barrios” between the poor and emergencies in Buenos Aires, sharing the difficulties of the population in the years of severe economic crisis that hit Argentina at the beginning of the Twenty-First century. The last chapters are dedicated to the first months of Francis pontificate.

BOOK PAGE AT VELAR SITE – (SHOPPING ONLINE)

BOOK INFORMATIONS AT ELLEDICI SITE

INSIDE THE VATICAN PALACES #2 / EXCLUSIVE: THE FRESCOES BY MICHELANGELO IN CAPPELLA PAOLINA (LIMITED ACCESSIBILITY AREA)

I recently had the honour to meet Pope Francis for the presention of the biography I wrote about him. The private encounter took place in Casa Santa Marta, an unpretencious house where he usually lives. Before the encounter I had a very special gift: the possibility to visit some of the beautiful rooms in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. I been also in the enchanting Cappella Paolina (the Pauline Chapel) to admire the incredible fresco paintings by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti : The Crucifixion of St. Peter (c. 1546–1550) and The Conversion of Saul (c. 1542–1545).

Being a sacred space, Pauline Chapel is a limited accessibility area. Despite the efforts of contemporary scholars to illustrate the genius behind these two works, they remain relatively obscure. This is due primarily to the fact that tourists are not permitted to enter the Pauline chapel because it’s a worship space. Most of those who do know of these works will never have the opportunity to see them in person. According to Williams no other work by Michelangelo has ever been so grossly misrepresented in reproductions. The only way to view these works as the artist intended them to be seen is to see them in situ.

The Crucifixion of St. Peter is the last fresco executed by Michelangelo. The artist portrayed St. Peter in the moment in which he was raised by the Roman soldiers to the cross. Michelangelo concentrated the attention on the depiction of pain and suffering. Pope Paul commissioned this fresco by Michelangelo in 1541 and unveiled it in his Cappella Paolina. Restoration of the fresco completed in 2009 revealed an image believed to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo himself. Vasari states about the fresco: “There are no landscapes to be seen in these scenes, nor any trees, buildings or other embellishments and variation”.

The positioning of St. Peter himself is often noted as the most interesting innovation Michelangelo implemented in this piece. He defied convention by positioning Peter’s upper body so that it cranes upward and twists his neck around so that his eyes make contact with the viewer.

The Conversion of St. Saul or St. Paul  is often discussed in conjunction with The Crucifixion of St. Peter. As its title suggests, the fresco represents the conversion of a lawyer from Tarsus named Saul (a man who prosecuted Christians) into a follower of Christ. In the book of Acts, Paul states that he saw an impossibly bright light and heard the voice of Christ himself. The blindingly bright light is the Apex of this story. The style is more mannerist than his earlier Sistine Chapel frescoes, and was not as well received by contemporaries.

Giuseppe Frangi (30 Giorni) writes: “On 25 January 1540, the Feastday of the Conversion of St Paul, until then celebrated in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, Pope Paul III Farnese consecrated to the saint whose name he had taken, the new parva (small) chapel, commissioned from Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and built in just three years in the heart of the Papal Palace. The chapel – parva as opposed to the chapel magna, the functions of which had been taken over by the Sistine – was the chapel intended for the conclave. And above all it was the place where the Blessed Sacrament was kept, for which purpose it had been fitted with both an altar and a tabernacle. When Paul III consecrated it, the chapel had no decorations, but it was clear who would climb the scaffolding: it was again up to Michelangelo, just down from the scaffolding of the Sistine Chapel, where he completed the great toil of the Last Judgment”.

 The reconstruction of the work – Frangi states – done day by day, made possible by modern restoration techniques, shows Michelangelo was capable of getting through a large amount of work in a day. Eventually there were 172 working days (85 for the Conversion of St Paul and 87 for the Crucifixion of St Peter), spread over seven years, with the break in 1544, when he was halted by health problems. These frescoes were largely ignored for centuries and incurred a great deal of damage due to neglect. In the early twentieth century there were some scholars who came to reconsider the frescoes under the new light of expressionism and abstraction.

William Wallace proposed an entirely new perspective on the subject claiming that the disproportionate quality of the figures is not a failing on the part of Michelangelo, but rather another instance of his genius. According to Wallace, the real innovation in this piece comes from the incorporation of time and space in the overall composition of the frescos. In addition to conceiving of these frescoes in terms of perspective, Michelangelo also took into consideration the architectural and environmental context they were to be set in.

After the last restoration Pope Benedict XVI said: “The two faces are opposite each other. One might therefore imagine that Peter’s face is actually turned towards the face of Paul, who, in turn, does not see, but bears within him the light of the Risen Christ. It is as though Peter, in the hour of supreme trial, were seeking that light which gave true faith to Paul”.

(2 – To be continued)

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