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Northwest Chapter

Vatican Garden: Laghetto Restoration

The Northwest Patrons have decided to take on a new restoration project in the Vatican Gardens and restoration will soon begin on the Lakes (Laghetto) area of the Gardens thanks to the Patrons support.

The area of the Laghetto in the Vatican Gardens, situated in the zone of the oak forest, was restored during the pontificate of Gregory XVI Cappellari (1831-1846). 

During this time, the area was enriched by the gifts offered by Pope Leo XIII Pecci (1878-1903) on the occasion of the priestly jubilee celebrated on December 31, 1887. Precious archaeological finds, fragments of sarcopgagi, and papal crests of various origins were scattered in the garden during the nineteenth century in deference to the Romantic taste of the time. 

Among the precious sculptures in this section of the Vatican Gardens was the marble statue of St. Peter in Chains made by Florentine Maria Luisa Amalia Dupré (1842-1928), daughter of the famous sculptor Giovanni Dupré.  Known as the first work by a female artist in the Vatican, the sculpture was donated by the Congregation of the Pius Schools of the Piarist Order (Calasanziani) to Pope Leo XIII. The prince of the Church is represented with the chains of his imprisionment on his lap; in the figure’s suffering attitutde is expressed the great ability of the artist to reconcile her own academic education, matured in the shadow of her father Giovanni, with an attention paid to naturalism. 

Also in this area is the sculptual group of Sant’Alpino who stopped Attila from entering Italy. This sculpture group was donated to Pope Pecci for the 1887 jubilee by the French diocese of Châlons-sur-Marne. The bronze was cast by the French artist Jean Ernest Boutellier (c.1851-1920) in the historic foundry of Maurice Denonvilliers in Rue Lafayette in Paris. The work symbolically represents the moment when the saint, bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, stopped the harrowing advance of Attila, Flagellum Dei, in the decisive battle of the Catalaunian Fields (451 AD).

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