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Tickets in demand for Vatican exhibit of medieval frescoes
By WILLIAM KERNS A-J Entertainment Editor

Ticket demand already is building for the exhibit titled "Traditions and Renewal: Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums," which will be displayed June 1, 2002 through Sept. 15, 2002 at the Museum of Texas Tech.

An office has been set up at the museum to handle ticket requests. Free tickets, indicating a specific date and time of visit, can be reserved by calling 742-6800. Free long distance calls are accepted at 866-803-6873.

Museum officials are recording date-and-time requests made, and will mail tickets after Jan. 1, 2002 to those who have made reservations.

All visitors must have a ticket.

The exhibit can be viewed on only one Monday, June 3, 2002, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other museum hours for the Vatican exhibit are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The exhibit of 31 medieval frescoes were discovered in 1528 and kept in storage until 1995. They never have been displayed for the public.

"It was only four or five years ago that scientific methodology was invented that allowed these frescoes to be removed from walls," said Father Malcolm Neyland, pastor of the Catholic churches in Post and Wilson and director of this exhibit.

Fresco painting finds paint applied to wet plaster. The water soluble pigments combine chemically with the plaster as it dries. As the plaster dries, the pigments become a part of the hardened plaster.

Neyland said, "This type of art rarely is put on exhibit someplace that demands an ocean crossing. They are very delicate paintings made on plaster or walls."

This is not a touring exhibit, Neyland said. Rather, it will be transported from Rome to Lubbock, where it will be displayed for three months, and then returned directly to the Vatican Museum.

"After the Lubbock showing, these frescoes will not be made available for viewing again until 2025," Neyland said.

The "400,000-plus" that Neyland expects to attend the exhibition in Lubbock includes dignitaries from foreign nations.

He said, "Cardinals from Rome, presidents of large countries, and art historians, educators and critics will attend. It will be the subject of national and international discussion. Already, we have heard from large contingents in Canada and Mexico wanting to see this exhibit.

"After this, if there still is someone who does not know exactly where Lubbock is, he or she will at least know that Lubbock housed an exhibit of priceless art."

Frescos headed to Lubbock originally were donated to the Vatican by the Church of St. Nicoli and the Basilica of St. Agnes, both in Rome. The art works were painted in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Frescos from St. Agnes include "Stories of St. Catherine," "Stories of St. Benedict," "Holy Princess," "St. Peter," "Six Saints," "Two Saints," "St. Deacon," "Story of a Saint" and "Marriage of the Virgin."

Those from the Church of St. Nicolai include decorative fragments of a fasan, a bird, pot and birds, winged dragon, peacock, mask and two dolphins, a heron and "The Prophet Amos," "The Prophet Jeremiah" and "The Prophet Aggeus."

Neyland emphasized that the exhibit also will include the "first Christian instructional," depicting — in pictures — the manner in which one was expected to teach Christianity.

William Kerns can be contacted at 766-8712 or wkerns@lubbockonline.com

The exhibit has ended
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