- The Collection
- In depth
- In Depth.The fresco by Luca Giordano on the ceiling of the Cason
- The Restoration of the Ceiling
The Restoration of the Ceiling
Damage to the Ceiling and earlier Restorations
On 23 September 1915 a report published in the newspaper El Imparcial stated:
“A ceiling by Giordano at risk […] If a very careful restoration is not urgently undertaken on this notably important decorative scheme, it will disappear in the space of a few years, a situation to be avoided at all costs due to the beauty of this work and the importance of the celebrated artist Giordano. The work by this great decorative artist, although not attaining the sublimity of Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel or the exquisiteness of Tiepolo’s frescoes, and without being comparable to that reverie of colour, grace and technique that Goya left us on the walls of San Antonio de la Florida, is of outstanding merit and worthy of the most serious attention”.
Over the course of its history, numerous artists and art historians who visited the Casón and looked at the ceiling commented on the merit of the ceiling as well as on its alarming state of preservation. This was primarily due to water filtering into the structure and to movements of the foundations with resulting cracks. Various inappropriate actions were undertaken, including adhering pieces of cloth directly over the scenes of the Labours of Hercules, large amounts of re-painting that altered the original design, and repairs to the structure of the ceiling to fill in cracks and missing areas. As a result, by the beginning of the 20th century Giordano’s ceiling was almost completely concealed, as the recent restoration campaign revealed (2001-2006).
Subsequent to Giordano’s original work, the ceiling was modified and repaired by Corrado Giaquinto (1753), José del Castillo (1777), Hernández Amores (around the late 19th century) and José Garnelo y Alda (1918-1927).