Drawings from the Archives of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Carte San Paolo 1
Thanks to the contribution given by many Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums from different Chapters such as Canada and Minnesota, the restoration project of the first group of works on papers has reached its conclusion. This pertains to a very rich ensemble of documents, drawings and projects all drafted in 1823 and 1824, and that are now housed in the archives. These artifacts tell the story of the reconstruction of Saint Paul Outside The Walls. following the devastating fire of 1823. They are, therefore, quintessential to the preservation of the historical identity of this papal basilica. In order to complete the restoration of this collection, it is necessary to work on 300 more drawings which are very fragile. These artifacts are distinguishable from the previous lot as their sizes are much larger, their preservation status is more complex, and they need a more careful and thorough restoration in order to regain their decorative beauty.

Carte San Paolo 3
This is a collection of graphic works composed of heliographic prints embellished with graphite, colored pencils and inks on a 1:1 scale. The works depict architectural elements such as grooves and bases of columns, moldings and trabeations, and even decorative patterns used for designing pilasters on mural paintings. Included are architectural renderings made on tracing paper – waxed or cotton-based-which picture the transept, naves, altars and bell tower.

Carte San Paolo 9

Therefore, any kind of decorative patterns which is used on pilasters. There are architectural drawings made on tracing paper -wax or canvas -which describe the transept, the naves, the altars and the bell tower. Lastly, there are the general schemes of the exquisite decorative apparatuses, the representation of the details (mosaics, floor marbles, friezes and ceilings) all made on paper with colored pencils or tempera.