Mangaluru, (The Hindu): The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Conservation Institute will complete the ongoing conservation and restoration of ancient wall paintings and oil paintings in St. Aloysius Chapel by April 2019, Nilabh Sinha, Principal Director of the Institute, said here on Thursday.
Talking to reporters, Mr. Sinha said the INTACH was restoring the paintings at the chapel for the second time. Earlier it had done so between 1991 and 1994. Following a request by church authorities, Mr. Sinha and other experts from the institute visited the chapel in 2016 and conducted a detailed study of the condition of teh paintings. A proposal was submitted in March 2017 and the work began in November 2017. “We will complete the work well within the scheduled 18-month duration,” he said.
Dionysius Vaz, Rector, St. Aloysius Institutions, said the chapel was bearing 1.5 crore cost towards the conservation and restoration.
The wall and the oil paintings on canvas in the chapel was done by Italian Jesuit Antonio Moscheni in 1899. “The wall paintings in the chapel are the rare Fresco paintings where the art is set with the cement plaster. I have not found such paintings in India so far,” Mr. Sinha said. The chapel has 600 sq. m. of wall paintings. There are oil paintings fixed on the roof of the 46 ft high chapel and also on the side walls.
While the paintings have largely retained their original form, Mr. Sinha said some paintings on the lower side of the walls have been damaged because of deposits of grease and owing to the movement of articles from the chapel. Some oil paintings on the roof have suffered damage because of leakage of water.
Mr. Sinha said experts from the institute have cleaned the paintings on the lower side of the walls. Scaffoldings have been placed for the conservation and restoration on the upper portion and the roof of the chapel. “Care is being taken to retain the original form. The work is being done in such a way that there is no harm to paintings for the next 50 years,” Mr. Sinha said.
He said the institute was looking for local artists who can be trained in restoration and conservation work. “We are going through Curriculam Vitaes (CVs) of some artists. We are yet to get the right people,” he said.
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