Holy Week Unveiling
As Musei Reali Torino announced yesterday, work has concluded on the restoration of the altar in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin. While the chapel itself reopened to the public in September 2018, twenty-one years after the devastating fire of April 1997, restoration of its reliquary altar continued until this month.
The altar, positioned in the center of the chapel, was designed by the Piedmontese architect and engineer Antonio Bertola (1647-1619). It is composed of the same black Frabosa marble as the chapel itself, with additional elements made of gilded wood. The placement of the altar allowed viewing of the relic from two sides, from both the palace and from the cathedral, underlining its role in representing the Savoy dynasty and as a popular devotional object for the citizens of Turin. After six years of construction, beginning in 1688, a solemn festival marked the transfer of the Shroud to the altar in 1694, officially inaugurating Guarino Guarini’s chapel eleven years after his death. Today the relic is housed elsewhere in the cathedral complex.
Since the reopening in 2018, visitors access the Shroud Chapel from the Palazzo Reale, part of the Musei Reali Torino. Although the museum is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning today until 7 April the cathedral offers an extraordinary viewing opportunity over the Easter holidays: the great window between the cathedral and the chapel will be opened to allow visitors to see the chapel and restored altar from the cathedral nave as Guarini originally intended.
The video below, released by the Musei Reali Torino, documents the restoration of the altar.
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● For additional information and links regarding the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin, see my post Cappella della Sindone Reopened (from September 2018).