- 120 years of history
- Rare collection
- Renovated at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore
Mangaluru: Of the many tourist attractions in the city St Aloysius chapel and museum are one and the restored frescos of the chapel and the renovated museum will be thrown open for the public on February 15th.
The world famous frescos of St Aloysius chapel have been restored for the second time. The frescos which have a history of 120 years associated with them have been previously restored 20 years ago.
120 years ago, an Italian Jesuit brother Antonio Moscheni studied painting at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo. Inspired by the masterpieces of the Vatican, the brother who was assigned to paint the chapel in Mangalore, painted the 829 sq ft surface within the chapel in baroque styled frescoes. He completed his entire commission with a period of 2 years through canvas and frescos.
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As the frescoes and paintings within the chapel were being adversely affected due to rainwater, dust and fungus, the paintings were restored by the technicians of Lucknow based INTACH-ICI in the year 1991-94. The restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of INTACH-ICI director Dr Agarwal. He had advised that the paintings be tested every 20 years. Hence the Nilabh Sinnah , the Main Director of INTACH Conservation Institution, a division of the New Delhi based Art and Heritage Division had been invited to the chapel in 2017. After inspection he gave some important advice for the conservation of the frescoes through his report. An estimated cost of Rs 1.25 crore was required to restore the frescoes to their original state and it will take 18 months to complete the work, he had informed.
Accordingly, a technician team was appointed from New Delhi for the restoration of the murals, fresoces and the canvasses. The team successfully restored the paintings at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore in a time span of 14 months and the venue is presently getting ready for inauguration.
The museum was started by Italian Jesuit father Chiappi in 1931. The museum was started with artifacts like minerals, herbs and roman coins some of which were gift from Collegio Vieta, Italy. The museum which was started in the red building has now been shifted to the space near the chapel and also undergone renovation. The interiors of the building have been designed by William James and Kavita who is post graduate in archeology and has a diploma in museum. Kavita has designed the display of the artifacts within the museum.
Artifacts in the museum
There are a variety of artifacts displayed in the museum including a Neolithic axe, pieces of Germany’s Berlin wall, artifacts from the Holy land, rocks from the north pole, objects produced from brass and bronze, a collection of lamps, African artworks, ancient ceramics and vases, old cameras with simple technology to the latest cameras, around 2,000 different minerals and fossils are displayed here. There are rare stamps and currencies from various countries. The first generator set that was used in the college even before electricity was being supplied to Mangaluru. First computer is also displayed here. A variety of radio sets, gramophones and TV’s are here. There are many skeletons on display here including the skeleton of a whale which was brought from Patam near Kozhikode.
Manglore’s first car, a De Deon automobile is on display at the museum. Earlier one used to travel on horses and hence horses used to be tied in front of the high school building. A stone used for the purpose is on display here. Rare books, manuscripts, Roman Catholic prayers, ceremonial books, clothes worn during the celebration of Christian rituals and drafts of legislations in Hebrew are displayed here.
There are 19th century household items, cooking utensils and equipment related to agriculture on display here. There are photos taken before 1902 as well as the celebration of the first Independence Day at St Aloysius college premises. Cannons used during the time of Tippu Sultan and spears and arrows from Abyssinia are displayed here. The furnishing used in the college during the old times is here. There is the photo of 1880 when St Aloysius College was started and also a desk which has marks etched on it by students.
There is a 6 million years old rock from the Grand canyon in Colorado and a Neolithic axe which is 1.6 million years old (both procured from Germany) on display here.