Giving new life to a Vatican sculpture

In front of "The Resurrection" by Fazzini, Swiss Guards are sworn in. (CNS/Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — Rome’s unseasonably warm weather is giving the Vatican time to erect scaffolding and start a serious cleaning of Pericle Fazzini’s sculpture, “The Resurrection.”

Work began today on the piece, which towers over the stage in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall. Since it’s plenty warm enough to hold the pope’s weekly general audience outdoors, visitors won’t even notice.

The sculpture, dedicated in 1977, is almost 66 feet wide and more than 23 feet tall. According to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, the bronze piece weighs about 15 tons. It depicts Christ “rising from a tomb in the Garden of Olives, while the earth is shaken by an enormous storm.”

During the work — in case the weather does turn cold — a tarp with a reproduction of the sculpture will hang over the scaffolding, so the audience hall still can be used. The work is expected to be completed in early December.