Santiago to show true colours
Restoration of the portico of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela is expected to begin in early 2013
By Emily Sharpe. Conservation, Issue 236, June 2012
Published online: 11 June 2012
Restoration and conservation work on the Pórtico de la Gloria of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela is expected to begin in early 2013, now that the first comprehensive scientific investigation of the late Romanesque portico, funded by the non-profit Fundación Barrié, has ended.
According to Ana Laborde, the technical co-director of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral Programme and a restorer at the Instituto de Patrimonio Cultural de España, an international competition for the work will be launched at some point in the autumn. “Our study showed that humidity was the biggest problem. The filtering of rainwater from the rooftops and towers and environmental instability are causing layers of polychromy to fall away,” Laborde says. She adds that there are five main paint layers, the first being of the best quality as “it was applied during the construction when economic resources were plentiful”.
Meanwhile, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, which has a full-scale replica of the portico in its cast collection, is set to host a symposium on the restoration project on 15 June. As well as a series of lectures by conservators and curators, the programme will include a version of the travelling exhibition on the project, including a video of a virtual re-creation of the portico (above) and a concert performed using instruments reconstructed from those depicted on it.
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