Six Senses Douro Valley supports Museu de Lamego, the historic Portuguese museum established in 1917, finance the restoration of a 16th -century painting titled, "Quo Vadis," for a public exhibition.
The historic painting was originally created to hang in the main altar in the Cathedral of Lamego. The commission for the altar was awarded to the most celebrated painter of the Portuguese Renaissance, Vasco Fernandes, known as Grão Vasco or Great Vasco. Among all the paintings produced for the cathedral, only five paintings have survived and they are on exhibition at the Museum of Lamego. Unfortunately the painting, which featured the biblical scene Quo Vadis, was painted over in the 18th century, partially hiding the original painting of the 16th century.
In 1911, after the last Portuguese King D. Manuel II was expelled from Portugal and the new Republican regime took over, all the church assets were nationalized and these paintings became part of the collection of the Museum of Lamego, that opened its doors in 1917.
Later in 1940 this painting was selected to be part of the exhibition Primitivos Portugueses, held in Lisbon, during the Portuguese World Exhibition promoted by Salazar’s regime to celebrate the eight centuries of Portuguese independence. However, due to difficulties with its restoration, it ended up not being part of the exhibition and its restoration remained incomplete.
Other restoration attempts lacking in technical expertise exacerbated the damage to the masterpiece, and so “Quo Vadis” languished in a store room of the museum.
The historical, technical and aesthetic value of the original painting had laid hidden since the 18th century, and only now, after a recent inventory and subsequent research using X-ray and infrared was the original painting rediscovered.
With proud support from the Six Senses Douro Valley Sustainability Fund, this rare Renaissance painting is being restored to its original glory.
“This is a great story of a lost treasure discovered in the museum’s store room. It is only with the latest restoration technologies that the painting is being brought back to life. The year-long project will culminate with an unveiling at a special ceremony on April 5, 2017” said Nicholas Yarnell, general manager of Six Senses Douro Valley.
The Sustainability Fund at Six Senses Douro Valley is comprised of 0.5 percent of revenues, 50 percent of Six Senses Water sales in the restaurants and soft toy sales. The resort features Dourival, the Douro Donkey toy in the minibar of each hotel room. Guest donations also help to build the fund which supports three principle causes: Bagos D’Ouro, the Miranda do Douro donkey and the Vale Abraao Forest Fund.
Bagos D’Ouro is a charity that helps gifted children from needy families in the Douro Valley with educational support from middle school through university. The fund also supports Associação para o Estudo e Protecção do Gado Asinino (AEPG), a donkey refuge close to the Spanish border, where the last remaining Miranda donkeys are being saved from extinction. And the final organization embraced by Six Senses Douro Valley, Vale Abrãao Forest Fund, supports efforts to clean up and provide a safe forest and path network in a nearby woodland park.
On April 5, the Museu de Lamego will be also commemorating its first centenary and is hosting a fund raising dinner that will gather all the sponsors of this painting restoration while exhibiting the restored painting for the first time to the public and to the press.
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