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Weaving hope. The magnificent robes of our Lady of Loreto in Italy

The Exhibition “Weaving Hope. The Precious Vestments of the Madonna of Loreto in Italy”, is held at the Galeria de Exposições Temporárias, Museu de São Roque, Lisbon until  19/05/2019, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Igreja de nossa Senhora do Loreto “Church of the Italians” of Lisbon, founded in 1518 by Italian merchants.

The exhibition, organized by the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the provinces of Frosinone, Latina and Rieti in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, the Italian Embassy in Lisbon, the Italian Cultural Institute in Lisbon, the Santa Casa della Misericórdia in Lisbon and the Museum of São Roque, has the support of the Generali – Companhia de Seguros SA of Lisbon.

Diocese of Sora – Cassino – Aquino – Pontecorvo Fontana Liri (FR) ITALY, Church of Santo Stefano Protomartire – Sanctuary of the Madonna di Loreto Madonna Di Loreto – Red silk petticoat with gold thread embroidery, blade and brillo (19th century)

The exhibition for about two years presents a selection of extraordinarily made artistic-crafted creations made to dress the wooden statues on the altars of many Italian churches. Dresses that change according to the days of the liturgical calendar and that become even richer and more precious on the occasion of particular feasts and anniversaries, when the statues are carried in procession through the streets of the towns. Whole communities gather around them, starting from the delicate moment of dressing, demonstrating the vitality even today of an artistic, religious and anthropological phenomenon that has its roots centuries ago.

The title of the exhibition, Weaving hope, recalls, almost ideally, the motif of the “weaving”, and that of “hope”, uniting them as in a spiritual and immaterial whole.

As highlighted by the interim superintendent, arch. Stefano Gizzi, “Weaving hope means, then, that through an ancient work, that of the weaver, who materially expounds himself in making fabrics or in preparing clothes, but conceptually refers to a mission of weaving and weaving bonds , relationships with men and with the world, we open ourselves to another dimension, where the expectations desired by men appear as goals that are no longer unattainable ”.

Nine dresses on display are related to the Madonna of Loreto and come from the province of Frosinone, in particular from the Benedictine monastery of Sant’Andrea di Arpino, from the churches of Santa Restituta di Sora, of San Barbato to Casalattico, of Santa Maria and of San Marcello in San Donato Val Comino and Santo Stefano Protomartire – Sanctuary of the Madonna di Loreto in Fontana Liri. All centers belonging to the Diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo, where there has always been a strong devotion to the Madonna of Loreto since the sixteenth century.

The event is an example of the virtuous collaboration between the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, both at central and peripheral level, and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through the Italian Embassy in Lisbon and the Italian Institute of Culture, which constantly promote, beyond the border, our wealth of knowledge and artistic values.

Henry Borzi

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