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Monday, February 13, 2012

Pena National Palace is open for works

Contrary to what is many times usual, the responsibles of the Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena) in Sintra, Portugal, have decided to choose the time of the year when the visits are less and start important restorations while being open to the public.

This praiseworthy initiative has received positive comments from a curious public who can assist to the restoration of art, furniture, of the building itself, and talk directly with the experts who are executing the work. This way, visitors can have a better idea how the conservation of important patrimony takes placed and how certain pieces are restored.

The project is consisted by a total of six works of restoration:

The restore of the famous domes with gilded tiles, one of the most emblematic symbols of the palace, with its increasing moon referring to the "Monte da Lua" (Mount of the Moon) and to the Moorish exoticism.

Avoiding its deslocation and eventual damages is a good reason for the restoration of the furniture of the Grand Hall (Salão Nobre), where visitors can observe the restore workshop in loco.
The furniture was acquired by D. Fernando to the Casa Barbosa e Costa, Lisbon, in 1867, quite possibly already thinking about the future marriage with his second wife, the Countess of Edla.

The famous Neomanueline style window, inspired by the one in the Christ Convent (Convento de Cristo) in Tomar, will have its wooden frames restored. It's one of the most important elements of the palace, since it materializes the revivalism of the 19th century.

Work will also be done on the mural painting of the Calabash stair (escada das Cabaças). The painting which is in bad state of conservation due to condensation, will be cleaned, released from fungos and carefuly restored to its original look as best as possible.
This stair would grant access to the New Palace (Palácio Novo) and to the Grand Hall (Salão Nobre) without the need for the guests to pass through the residential area of the royal family.

Another important project consists in the recovery of the trompe l'oeil mural located in the living room of the royal family, which had been covered since 1991, when part of the dome's coating fell partially.

In the chapel of the Palace takes place the restore of the rosewood window and of its stained glass, as well as the restoration of the tiles surrounding it.
A light and resistant structure will frame the stained glass, after which the window will be replaced. The stained glass were made in Nuremberga (1841) and depict the figures of D. Manuel I and Vasco da Gama, attesting the liasion of D. Fernando II with the more emblematic past of Portugal.
The image of S. Jorge and Nossa Senhora da Pen(h)a conclude the reference to the foundation of the Pena National Palace or Pena Palace as it is commonly known.

These projects gather the experts of the Parques de Sintra and the Instituto dos Museus e Conservação (Museums and Conservation Insitute), while the complexity of some works requires the partneship with some universities, namely the restoration of the stained glass in the chapel, which includes the support of the Conservation and Restore Department of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
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