Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Petrus Eni Exhibit

"Petros Eni" (Peter is here) is the title of the vast exposition that the Fabric of St. Peter's, from October 12 2006 to March 8 2007, dedicates to the Patriarchal Basilica, for the 500th anniversary of its foundation and to the Apostle Peter to whom the Basilica is dedicated.

The exposition includes over 100 masterpieces from the most famous museums of the world and is divided up into six sections. The first section recalls the historical event of the foundation and the artists and architects that defined the profile of the new basilica; the second part shows the most demonstrative moments of the complex process of the architectonic project in the realization of the monument, which started from an idea of Bramante. The third section is dedicated to the ancient basilica of Constantine, with special attention drawn to the architectonic project and the historical moment of its foundation; the fourth area is dedicated to the "Ager Vaticanus": from the foundations of the Ancient Basilica to the Vatican Necropolis. The fifth section will confront the personalities and works of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. The sixth and last section is based on two main themes: the primacy of Peter and Petrine devotion, through the testimonial of pilgrimages to the Apostolic Memory by Saints and Blesseds, well-known in the Church's history, as well as literary and artistic personalities of today's times, and today's visitors.

The exposition gathers together many very important architectonic plans and studies, as well as masterpieces of painting and numerous documents, some unpublished, by the main architects and artists who worked on the construction of the Basilica of Saint Peter: Bramante (the design on parchment is considered one of the most beautiful ever done in the Renaissance), Antonio di Sangallo (present with the virtual reconstruction of the wooden mockup from 1539) and works by Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, El Greco, Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini and Rembrandt, coming from, among other galleries and museums, The Metropolitan Musem of Art, the Albertine Museum, the Louvre, Graphische Sammlung, the Uffizi, Capodimonte, the Vatican Museums, etc...

Even the Fabric of Saint Peter will show one of its most precious treasures: the famous wood mockup, made according to a drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti; as well as other findings, never shown before, from the hypogaeum of the Vatican Necropolis, including a graffiti on a piece of a wall with the writing "Petros eni", as witness of the Petrine devotion in this place and giving the name to the exposition. To testify to the pilgrimages by the Saints and Blesseds to this sacred place, some extraordinary relics will be shown, such as the tunic of Saint Francis of Assisi and Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta's sandals.

Today's Basilica of Saint Peter, in fact, rises over the "ager vaticanus", where Peter was buried. The Emperor Constantine built the first basilica here, which Saint Francis of Assisi saw on his trip to Rome. Constantine's architects literally covered a large Roman necropolis to be able to construct this main important basilica. This necropolis has been brought back to light thanks to the archeological excavations, beginning in 1939, following Pius XII wishes.

This exhibit will be located in the Constantine Wing of St. Peter's Square, which is located to the left of St. Peter's Basilica in the straight, walled section.

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