The restoration work that took place during the year 2008 in the church of Santa Maria del Rosario is the final step of a long conservation intervention that began in October 2001, which had as its object the stone decoration, the plasters of the aisle and all the altars. The restoration was followed by the IVBC restorers and students of the three-year training formation.
The church of Santa Maria del Rosario, better known as the Jesuit church, named after the ancient religious order had habited the site until the arrival of the Dominicans, is an outstanding example of stylistic consistency, almost unique in the city of Venice. Its construction was completed in fact, including the entire decoration, in about thirty years since 1725, under the supervision of the architect Giorgio Massari.
He has been inspire by the examples, in the design of sacred architecture, of Palladio, in particular the Church of the Redentore and the Church of San Giorgio. The spatial organisation in plan is characterized by a division into three separate units: the nave, chancel and choir. Deep chapels open in threes along each side of the nave. The walls of the space are divided by a giant Corinthian order. The connection between the nave and the space of the chancel is characterized by a last pair of columns, placed diagonally by the limit of the nave.
Along Massari, between 1730 and 1748, three great artists of three different generations worked on paintings: Sebastiano Ricci, Giambattista Piazzetta and Tiepolo. Looking at to the sculptural decoration, the Fathers turned once again to a well-known artist at that time, the sculptor Gian Maria Morlaiter.
The stone decorations of the Church of the Gesuati appear generally in a pretty good preservation status.
Visible are the interventions of the past, especially on the plaster (repainting). Then, a uniform deposit of dust and other inconsistent materials had cover the artifact through the passing time, exacerbated in recent years by a heating emitting hot air.
This deposit affects all surfaces and all the materials, shows less accentuated altars because of their protected position and slightly more consistent in the areas near by the large windows and the air heating exit.
The rising damp, which is common in the lagoon city, combined with temperature and humidity changing give rise to the phenomenon of delamination and disintegration of the materials in the lower parts of the altar panels (Sicilian jasper and Carrara marble altars).
on the walls, a more ancient “marmorino” plaster is hidden by a other plaster’s layer. On the surface of latter appears various repainting to make homogeneous the surface.
The first operation was to perform a graphic documentation of the decay of all areas included in the restoration project. The description of the intervention steps will cover all the chapels and their surrounding areas since the problems of degradation was similar for all of those.
The intervention began by the dusting of all the stone surfaces with soft brushes and a vacuum cleaner: during this phase were further verified stability and cohesion of the materials and then securing all the unstable or partly detached elements.
We started the cleaning phase once done some cleaning tests, as was essential to follow the cleaning level applied during the years of restoration. The use of deionized water proved to be the best choice for cleaning Istrian stone supported by simple packs in layers of Japanese paper. In the areas near the windows was necessary the use of ammonium carbonate’s solution. The plasters were dusted with soft brushes and cleaned by the inconsistent deposites with Wishab sponges repeatedly passed over the surface.
Structural instability over time have resulted in cracks in the joins between blocks of Istrian stone, and their integration has required the construction of an anchor that does not allow any material falls from considerable heights.
The altars inside the chapels were dusted and subsequently clean with deionized water compress. The white Carrara’s marble has prompted a more thorough cleaning to adjust the cleaning levels between altars. The marble and Sicilian Jasper surfaces were affected by repeated applications of wax now aged, especially in the bottom areas, easily accessible from the ground to do maintenance. It has done a partial removal with soft cotton soaked in an organic solvent, sometimes alternate by cleaning compress.
The cleaning of Carrara’s marble part, in the bottom of both pulpits, requested thorough removal of the thin blackened wax leakage of the moldings. The top carved in wood painted on a gesso and glue preparation, has been cleaned of dust inconsistent deposits with slightly basic solution of ox gall in water. Some small flakes fixing were made with a rabbit glue. Some retouches was performed in the gaps and inside the canopy.
The cleaning of the bas-reliefs of Gianmaria Morlaiter has proven very difficult: there was the abundant presence of wax filled in after previous aggressive cleaning interventions. It has used small Japanese paper and swabs with water alternating with solvent.
At the end of cleaning, finished the filling phase, we concluded the intervention with a microcrystalline wax coating on all parts of Carrara marble applied by brush and then polished with cotton cloths.