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Dazzling chapel in Rome even brighter after restoration

The chapel’s centerpiece is one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s most celebrated sculptures.

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The Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

A chapel in a Rome church that is home to a Baroque sculptural masterpiece by Gian Lorenzo Bernini has been made even more dazzling after its restoration.

Art and restoration specialists presented the result in the Cornaro Chapel in St Mary of the Victory Church on Thursday.

The chapel’s centerpiece is one of Bernini’s most celebrated sculptures, depicting the mystical experience of St Teresa of Avila.

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The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the Cornaro Chapel (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The marble statue is a theatrical centerpiece illuminated by rays of sunlight streaming through an opening.

During the restoration of the 17th-century work, specialists removed incrustations on the glass that filters the light, rendering the scene even more dramatic.

Afternoon shafts of sun that pierce a small dome in the chapel accentuate the effect of Bernini’s sculptured golden rays.

The restoration included cleaning all surfaces and reviving colours in frescoes near the ceiling, thanks in part to the removal of traces of black soot from a fire in 1833 in the church.

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People admire the restoration work at the Cornaro Chapel in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

People admire the restoration work at the Cornaro Chapel in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

People admire the restoration work at the Cornaro Chapel in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Restorers said they were able to determine that work done in 1915 to replace the original glass that had deteriorated appeared faithful to the original colours.

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They found fragments of the original framing of the glass and some fragments dating to the 17th century, possibly part of the original glass.

The chapel is a tourist favourite, and it appears Bernini was partial to it, too. He described his dramatic rendering of the chapel as “his least bad” work.


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