December 8, 2010.
The Immaculate Conception Room, located in the heart of the Vatican Museums, regained its glory in 2007, after an extensive restoration. Now, just years later, the spotlight returns for the publication of a book about its frescoes.
The room was painted by Italian artist Francesco Podesti, and is an artistic interpretation of the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception. Pius IX declared on December 8, 1854 that the Virgin was born free of original sin by a special grace.
In one painting, the artist represented the historical beginning of the Immaculate Conception and another shows theologians discussing its history.
The most important scene is the proclamation of the dogma, set in Saint Peter's, where the artist was present. The last fresco shows the coronation of the Virgin in the choir chapel at the Vatican.
'The Room of the Immaculate Conception' by Francesco Podesti
“In these frescoes, you find on one side the history and theology of the dogma. On the other side, is the actual chain of events. All the portraits are of real people who were present.”
Director, Vatican Museums
“They represent the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. You can see the Pope is among the cardinals, you can see the people of Rome. It's like a film in color of what happened.”
Persegati Francesca Martini
Restorer, Vatican Museums
“The colors are very interesting because even though the artist is a little academic, he learned to use the latest advancements, including new pigments they had for the last half of the nineteenth century. The study of chemistry was developing at this time, because of this we see cobalt blue, cadmium yellow, and chrome.”
Pope Pius IX asked for “Neo-Gothic” furniture in Paris be carved to show the papal bull of the dogma, the Ineffabilis Deus. Copies of the document are kept inside the furniture, in every language of the world and in most dialects.
With the publication of this book, anyone can enter and discover the frescoes of this room, as well as the story of the Immaculate Conception, which is still celebrated throughout the world every December 8th.