Angelo Raffaele, Wayside Altar and Baldacchino, 2002-05

The parish of Angelo Raffaele is joined with that of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, one of Venice in Peril's major projects in the 1970s, so the parish priest naturally turned to the fund for help. In recent years the Curia has been devoting substantial sums of State finance to structural maintenance of the church, and its artistic contents are being restored as funds become available. Venice in Peril undertook two restoration projects in the parish: a wayside altar with a wooden crucifix overlooking the bridge near the church of Angelo Raffaele, damaged by vandalism when the tabernacle grill was broken into, and the gilded wooden baldacchino suspended above the high altar, framing a painting of Angels and Cherubs in Glory attributed to Michelangelo Morlaiter (mid-18th century). The neo-classical larch-wood case of the wayside altar was made in 1854 to house the 15th-century painted wood crucifix that had previously hung, unprotected, on the wall. The original base layers of grey stucco and red paint laid directly on the carved wood of the Christ figure suggest that the crucifix was always intended to be displayed outside. Tests showed that a 19th-century restoration had removed almost all traces of previous polychromy. Given that the crucifix was destined to stay outside, it was decided simply to clean and consolidate the protective layer of 19th-century colour. The wooden joints of the case were reinforced, decayed parts were replaced and the peeling, sludge-green paint was replaced with a weatherproof, bluish-grey paint with gilding where original traces were found. The gilded wood canopy over the high altar was cleaned, repaired and burnished in situ and the restoration was inaugurated on the feast day of the Archangel Raphael, 29 September, 2006.

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