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Bernini's baldachin in St. Peter's Basilica will regain its shine

The imposing baldachin by Gianlorenzo Bernini, known as Bernini, overlooking the main altar of Saint Peter's Basilica will regain all its splendor.

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Bernini's baldachin in St. Peter's Basilica will regain its shine

The imposing baldachin by Gianlorenzo Bernini, known as Bernini, overlooking the main altar of Saint Peter's Basilica will regain all its splendor. The sculptor's masterpiece, created in the 17th century, will be restored in preparation for the global Christian jubilee scheduled for 2025, Vatican News tells us.

29 meters high and weighing nearly 60 tons, the building has endured the ravages of time and above all suffered the damage caused by the multitude of tourists, up to 50,000 per day, according to engineer Alberto Capitanucci, technical manager of the Fabrique de Saint-Pierre, the institution responsible for maintaining the building. The detachment of certain wooden structures, as well as a thick film of greasy substances and dust accumulated over the years, require this restoration, the cost of which is estimated at 700,000 euros. Funding is provided by the charitable organization the Knights of Columbus.

“The baldachin must be returned to the faithful in its restored integrity and its original splendor on the occasion of the start of the next Holy Year which Pope Francis will launch in December 2024,” explained Pietro Zander, responsible for the necropolis and property. artistic works of the Fabrique de Saint-Pierre.

A team of around ten people will tackle the work planned for a period of ten months. They consist of installing a sort of “Russian doll” of scaffolding encompassing the canopy while allowing access to the main altar of the basilica, explains Pietro Zander.

Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII in 1624, the construction of the canopy took nine years of work. And reflects all the virtuosity of Bernini. The sculptor combined baroque elements and his four bronze columns, decorated with branches and olive trees, rising in a spiral evoke the movement of the fabric to give a feeling of lightness to this imposing work.

The canopies contain a high symbolic value, recalls Vatican news. Appearing around the 4th century in very spacious churches, they made it possible to enhance the most important space of the church. Surmounting the central altar, Bernini's baldachin makes the choir of Saint Peter's Basilica a sacred and grandiose place.

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