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Vatican restores Michelangelos last frescoes

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Published on Jul 2, 2009

The Pauline Chapel is the last chapel that Michelangelo painted. These frescoes are nearly 500 years old. With good reason, the Vatican has just restored them.

Arnold Nesselrath
Art historian
It was probably the most important restoration and the biggest restoration and the most complex restoration that the Holy See ever undertook.

It took Michelangelo about eight years to paint them, and its taken Vatican artists five years to restore them. The total cost of the project was $4.6 million.

Michelangelos last two frescoes, "The Conversion of St. Paul" and the "Crucifixion of St. Peter, have recovered their former glory.

Painting these frescoes was a challenge for Michelangelo, who had just finished The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel and at the same time was working on the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and the design of the dome.

Maurizio De Luca
Restorer
I was on the scaffolding at the same point as Michelangelo, when at the age of 67 he began this project, and he painted it with such sluggishness, not only because he no longer wanted to paint but also because he regretted that the roof had collapsed and the rain had ruined his job, and because they hadnt signed his contract and wasnt paid on time.

During restoration, the experts discovered this amazing self-portrait of Michelangelo in one of the frescoes. The artist depicted his tiredness and old age in the face of St. Paul.

They were also able to identify the last strokes of the artist.

Maurizio De Luca
Restorer
We've discovered what was the last working day of Michelangelo, and we have also discovered which were his last strokes. which are depicted in this group of women who cry at the foot of St. Peters cross.

Its a great treasure that Benedict XVI will officially inaugurate before he leaves on vacation.

DG .

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