July 27, 2010.
Restoration began in March 2010 around the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome. The project lasted four months, but a major surprise came during that time. When workers removed a plaster wall in the church, they discovered a fresco of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.
Art History Professor, 'La Sapienza'
“In the first place it's a pictorial testimony of the Middle Ages. This would be enough because there are so few works of this era. Being able to date it accurately adds incredible richness to the discovery.”
Saints Peter and Paul also appear in the painting, on both sides of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Saint Sabina and Seraphia appear on the sides. The Archpresbyter Theodor and the presbyter George are depicted at the bottom.
Theodore and George have a blue box around their heads, the iconography of the day indicating that they were living people, unlike the rest of the protagonists.
These men were papal delegates at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 and were key in dating the work, which was painted between the seventh and eighth centuries.
The painting's style was another key factor in determining its age. The fresco is in a classic style, which was very typical of art in those centuries. Fortunately, the work is in good condition despite its age and has allowed examination of some of the artist's innovations.
Doctor Lidia del Duca
Art historian and restorer
“A blue pigment of incalculable value from Afghanistan is used in the work, but its use has only been known of in later centuries.”
This discovery confirms the Basilica of Santa Sabina as a must for curious tourists and art lovers.