Italian painter restoring church paintings in Doon

#1 May 17th, 2004, 19:08
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Mar 2003
Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand)
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Italian painter restoring church paintings in Doon

Raju Gusain
Dehra Dun, May 15

Professor Lorenzo Casamenti from the world's art capital, Florence (Italy), is now in the state capital of Uttaranchal for a noble cause. With a small team of art students, he is restoring the antique wall paintings of the St. Francis Church here. And, all this for charity!
The restoration work of the thirteen wall paintings based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi is presently underway and is expected to be completed by May 26. Professor Lorenzo and his seven dedicated students can be spotted minutely working with brush and paint to recreate the lost glory.
Commenting on the history of the paintings, Father Antony Dhas, Chief Priest of the St. Francis Church, says, "The church was built in 1800. During the Second World War, Germans and Italians were interned in Dehra Dun and among them was an Italian painter Nino La Civita. At the request of Fr. Luke, Parish Priest here at that time, the British allowed Nino to create the paintings at the church."
Professor Casamenti is the director of restoration at the 'Lorenzo de Medici Institute' in Florence. He has done restoration work in countries like Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Describing the paintings at the local St. Francis Church as 'excellent' he says, "The paintings were made in three phases. First, the figures were coloured, shading with dark colours followed and, next, it was given a special effect by using white shades."
The Italian art professor first visited Dehra Dun in October, last year to assess the damage. He has recently begun the work and after completing the restoration here, the team will be leaving for Meerut, to do similar work at the Begum's Church.
The art students who have come here with Lorenzo are an excited lot. While, Dennis Rascon from Mexico considers it a great learning experience, Carol Taddeo from USA believes that the exposure would prove a milestone in her art career.
Professor Lorenzo, who has undertaken the restoration for free, has established a new relation between Dehra Dun and Italy. This move will immensely help a tourism-based state like Uttaranchal to generate interest among Italian tourists and art lovers about the new hill state in the Indian Himalayas.
Interestingly, before she got into politics, Congress President Sonia Gandhi was an avid student of art restoration.

Hindustan Times,
May 17, 2004
New Delhi (Late city edition)

Photo: Italian Professor Lorenzo Casamenti doing restoration work at St. Francis Church in Dehra Dun

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