The Restoration of ‘Jesus in Front of Pontius Pilate’

The Passion of Christ is one of the most depicted narratives in the history of art. It was, and is, such an important part of the Catholic faith, it is no wonder that artists painted it repeatedly. One such painting, Jesus in Front of Pontius Pilate, has recently been restored in the painting labs of the Vatican Museums thanks to Gary Tigges of the Texas Chapter!

In this particular painting, Jesus is portrayed standing before Pilate, awaiting to be sentenced to death due to accusations of blasphemy. While Jesus is recognizable by his halo, Pilate can be seen in the shadows on the left. His uncomfortable position was likely intentional as according to scriptures he did not want to be part of Jesus’s wrongful death. Pilate sits in anxiety, but Jesus stands tall and calm, accepting the fate that his Father had bestowed upon him. The unknown Nordic Master who completed this work in the mid-16th century, took both inspiration from his homeland, as well as from the Italian Renaissance.

This painting had been restored multiple times in the past, dating as far back as 1923. These former restorations had layered varnish and glues on the painting thereby diminishing some details. The highest priority for the restorers in this instance was to lighten the paint back to its original color after decades of buildup had darkened the palate. After the restoration of the varnish, the restorers strengthened the canvas and filled the lacunae in the framing. These precautions will make it so the restoration will last longer and remain stable for many years to come!

Jesus in Front of Pontius Pilate before the restoration.

Jesus in Front of Pontius Pilate after the restoration.


Texas Chapter Visits Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican Gardens

On the Northwest border of Vatican City lies a proposed section for the Gardens restoration project. Like the the Grotto of Lourdes section, this area is located atop Vatican Hill and is a spectacular vantage point for catching a panoramic view of Rome. It is for this lovely place  that the Texas chapter of Patrons has generously donated so that the section of Gardens can be well preserved.  This past week, when they were in town, members of the Texas Chapter visited the site to see first-hand the impact that their contributions are having on the serene and spiritual place.

One of the most special pieces in this section is a statue that gives the area its  namesake – donated by Mexico to Pope Pius XII in 1939,  depicting moment that the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously revealed in Mexico City in the year 1531. In the statue, native Juan Diego stands in surprise as he gazes upon his Tilma (or peasant cloak) upon which the sacred image of the Virgin appeared.  The Franciscan Bishop, Juan de Zumaraga also kneels in surprise before her,  a witness to the miracle of the beautiful, sacred image.

The Vatican grounds represent one of the finest gardens in the world.  Formed on hallowed ground and cultivated with faith and hope, the growth here is sacred and symbolic of greater spiritual meaning. Many popes have prayed surrounded by this shrine of greenery. Pope John XXIII often reflected in the gardens as he prepared to lead the church through the Second Vatican Council. John Paul II often invited young people to pray the rosary with him at the Lourdes shrine atop the Vatican Gardens. Pope Benedict XVI was also known to pray his rosary here.


Although many of the degradation problems of the works were similar, there were different levels of deterioration due to specific factors of corrosion relating to placement (major or minor exposure to sunlight and rainfall), constituent materials, and the presence of previous restorations and/or the reassembly of fragments or parts of the works. Today, thanks to the Texas Chapter these problems are being overcome by restorers. As they were able to witness on their visit – we’ve been able to preserve and restore this majestic statue and the glorious landscape that surrounds it.

The Texas Chapter was able to contribute so much to this effort, but there is still a great need when it comes to our gardens. It’s so important to maintain this holy place and meditative space so that it continues to inspire visitors and holy contemplation. If you are considering donating to one of our projects please think about adopting part of the garden. It is a truly worthy project.

See this link for more information on how to be a part of this effort:



Our Texas Chapter VIisiting the Gardens

Our Texas Chapter VIisiting the Gardens


guadalupe statue

Gardens Entrance


11 Chinese Scrolls Restored Thanks to Our Texas Chapter

Check out work from our Texas Chapter!
Gardens blossom in our artistic projects too: one prominent restoration project centers on 11 sumptuous Chinese scrolls depicting flowers in bloom. These beautiful pieces are by Yun Shouping – also known as Nantian (1633 – 1690). He was one of the “Six Masters” of the Qing period and adorned his poetic scrolls with brilliant and intricate flower patterns. The Vatican Museum is dedicated to restoring these unique delicate scrolls so they can be displayed and kept safe from the elements. This restoration was generously sponsored by Robert F. Smith.  Learn more here:

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