A Letter from the Friend’s President

The Friends have a wonderful history of restoration and conservation, Two upcoming  Friends Only events remember this part of the Friends mission over the years.

Maria Eggemeyer, Friends President

Dear Friends – 

On a stroll through the galleries to prepare for a tour, I came across St. Paul the Hermit, and right away thought of the Friends organization and its mission and dedication to support, enhance and sustain the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Over its history, the Friends organization has provided Mia funds not only to acquire, but also to conserve art.

Since its acquisition by Mia, Andrea Bergondi’s larger than life Baroque statue struck a curious pose. Rapt in prayer, but also looking as though he was contemplating a dive into the evening lake, Saint Paul’s posture puzzled many who stopped to admire this magnificent statue carved from a single block of marble. Friends came to the rescue and provided Mia support for the statue’s restoration.

Mia staff had come across an old photograph in archives that showed Saint Paul the Hermit in the original position in prayer, looking to the heavens. According to http://archive.artsmia.org/saint-paul-the-hermit/sculpture.html , “Bergondi’s statue shows Saint Paul as he was when Saint Anthony last saw him. According to the influential Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend, written by Jacopo de Voragine in the 13th century), when Saint Anthony Abbott returned to his friend’s cave after having had the vision of his death, he found “his body upright on its knees as though praying, and he thought him to be still alive. But having realized that he had died, he said: ‘O saintly soul, you show in your death what you did throughout your life.’” Saint Paul had virtually become a statue of himself, and conversely, the statue of marble evokes the living saint.”

Andrea Bergondi (Italian), St. Paul the Hermit, 1772, marble. The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, 73.2.

Art lovers can visit Gallery 314 to admire Bergondi’s eighteenth-century masterpiece in its proper posture, thanks to restoration by expert conservators from the Midwest Art Conservation Center. And it was Friends who came to the rescue and provided funds for this extensive effort. 

MACC Director Colin Turner has generously offered Friends a tour of the facility and their work this November 20th. For those of you lucky (and quick) enough to snag a spot, we look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.

Thank you, Friends, for staying committed to the mission. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warmest regards,

Maria Eggemeyer

Friends President