Artfuel | The Projects

The projects on which Artfuel will initially focus are found in Siena. The Soprintendente (Superintendent) of the Art Ministry, Tuscany Branch, has shared with us the below three priorities and photographs. Budgets are posted beneath each slide presentation.

The Art Ministry is fine-tuning each project budget, as well as the project descriptions. Please check back for more information, as we will update this page. To make a contribution, please contact us using the secure contact form(s).

Funds for the projects in Siena will be held by the Communities Foundation of Texas in a designated fund tied solely to the Art Ministry, Tuscany Branch. Separately, we have compiled a budget for a lean fundraising operation and ongoing project monitoring for the remainder of 2018, and for all of 2019. If you are interested in obtaining this information, use the secure contact form(s) to reach us. All work already completed as seen on this website has been accomplished to date by volunteers (free of charge as a public service).

1. Restoration of Multiple Frescoes Inside City Hall Palace | Project Budget: $760,000

The restoration of the six-hundred-year old frescoes of landscapes in Siena’s City Palace and their maintenance are extremely urgent.

The government of the Medieval and Renaissance municipal authorities illustrated, for political and propagandistic purposes, the city’s territorial possessions, its achievements, the wars it won and important scenes from its history. Thus, the venerable frescoes on the walls of the City Palace have always been a constant. Indeed, there are, still today, many ‘landscapes’ visible in the palace. These are in urgent need of restoration and/or maintenance. Intervention activities include surveys, photographic and graphic documentation as well as the necessary scaffolding, not only to ensure the best preservation, but also to learn more about these important works.

Below is the detailed list of the restoration and/or maintenance activities on these landscapes. Also included is the restoration of the surrounding pictorial areas, which is necessary in order to obtain a homogeneous effect.

Hall of Peace | General Maintenance and Investigation of Pictorial Technique

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good and Bad Government and Its Effects on Town and Country, fresco murals, 1338. The frescoes are masterpieces of early Renaissance secular art with the Allegory of Good Government an unrivaled pictorial encyclopedia of a peaceful Medieval “borgo” or burgh.

Globe Room | Restoration
  • Inside wall: Lippo di Vanni, The Battle of Sinalunga, monochrome fresco, 1363.
  • Giovanni di Cristoforo Ghini and Francesco di Andrea, The Battle of Poggibonsi, monochrome fresco, 1480.
  • Sano di Pietro, San Bernardino, fresco.
  • Lorenzo di Pietro called ‘il Vecchietta’, St. Catherine, fresco.
  • Crescenzio Gambarelli, Blessed Andrea Sansedoni, fresco.
  • Crescenzio Gambarelli, Blessed Pier Pettinaio, fresco.
Wall with Windows | Restoration

Battista di Niccolò da Padova, Monogram of San Bernardino, 1425, and the painted plaster surrounding the windows

Nurse’s Hall | Restoration

Spinello Aretino, The Naval Battle between the Venetians and the Imperial Army of Frederick Barbarossa at Punta San Salvatore, fresco, 1408.

2. Restoration of the Courtyard, The Palazzo Pubblico (City Hall Palace), Siena | Project Budget: $760,000

A detailed description of work required and to be undertaken is in preparation. Return to this page soon for information.

3. Restoration of Portions of the City Fort and City Walls | Project Budget: $1,225,000

Siena’s city walls play an essential and substantial role within the framework of the historic center and consolidated urban fabric of the town (which has been designated a UNESCO heritage site). At present the extraordinary complexity of this infrastructure is partly obscured by its rapidly deteriorating conditions.

An integral part of the historic nucleus and at the same time almost invisible, the walls define the historic center and have also limited urban expansion along the large access roads to the city.

A trip on the road flanking the perimeter of the city walls reveals the magnitude of the infrastructure. In many places, the walls open onto vegetable gardens. It is as if the relationship between walls and the outer countryside hasn’t changed  since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Although the walls in several places have been destroyed or are hidden by vegetation or buildings that have encroached upon them, for the most part, they rise up, solitary, running along the hills and across the valleys on which they stand.

The impression of the walls on the urban landscape is almost entirely uniform and legible. Exceptions include certain stretches that are less visible as they are covered by vegetation and weeds, or hidden by the vegetable gardens that are located adjacent. The only section that no longer exists is to the north, next to Camollia gate (porta Camollia), which was demolished to build the Medici Fort and, later on, the San Prospero neighborhood which is characterized by its Art Nouveau villas.

Overall, the walls appear compact and unified (apart from the large section that was demolished as described in the preceding paragraph). However, they were constructed at different stages and realized according to the needs and availability of materials and workers, as illustrated in the studies undertaken by the University of Siena.

First and foremost, they were built as defensive structures, when the art of war had not yet evolved towards gunpowder (the advent of which later required the addition of ramparts and strongholds to the boundary wall). They also limited and filtered access to the city permitting the collection of entrance duties and fees during the Medieval period. These functions shaped the compositional and structural characteristics of the walls. For the most part, they are high and thin with emphasis on gates that punctuate the perimeter in intervals. In several instances, double gates were deemed necessary. In this case, one gate ( called an ‘anti-porta’) stands before another, main gate (or ‘porta’).

In the sixteenth century, when the art of war evolved from spears and swords to firearms, specialist architects in the field of fortified structures began the transformation to ramparted fortifications. One such architect, Baldassare Peruzzi, designed the Medici Fort which is part of this restoration project.

The restoration of the walls is part of a complex program, which would include the realization of a park containing the fort and a portion of the walls with the purpose of enhancing the value of the entire monument. The objective of a complete and correct restoration and consolidation of the walls is to return the monument to its original state and reintegrate it into the urban landscape.

Design Choices and Project Categories:

This project relates to the consolidation and the architectural restoration of the section of the walls which is included between the Peruzzi (Medici) fort and the Pispini gate. At present this section is in absolutely critical conditions in terms of the decay of material and structural weakness.

The premises on which the whole project has developed are: the difference in elevation, the high, thin and slender structure, the different rates of decay at different points, and not least, critical static force issues.

Structural, Decay and Intervention Methods:

Preliminary to the restoration and reintegration of the walls themselves will be the complex removal of weeds and the removal of biological patina from the walls. Although vegetation and ruins can be considered aesthetically pleasing (such as in 18th century Romantic painting), it is to be observed that the walls cannot be defined as “ruin” in the “Brandian” sense of the term. In our specific case, weeds have caused serious structural damage. In addition, they negatively impact the visibility of the walls. For these reasons, all the flora growing on the surfaces will be removed with those calibrated and opportune procedures necessary to eliminating roots and leaves. As a result, the complete visibility of the walls will be obtained as well as “restoration of the image.”

Regarding the “restoration of the image:”  Different types of gaps in the walls have been detected. These distinguish between “losses” and “deficiencies”. The recovery criterion aims at reintegrating the overall image of the fabric of the wall but without indulging in any sort of historical falsehood.

The critical distinction between loss and deficiency has been borrowed from the methodological definition proposed by Umberto Baldini. When the gap is a “loss” and no supplementary treatment can be foreseen, a decision must be made with respect to the treatment and protection of what remains. When the gap is a “deficiency,” treatment will allow the reinstatement of the image without damage to historical authenticity, but with good results in terms of aesthetics.

More information is forthcoming. If you have questions in the interm, kindly use the secure contact forms on this website to reach us.