PALAZZO MADAMA in Turin. Chandeliers restoration


An exclusive preserving action related to the historical chandeliers of Palazzo Madama in Turin, had been taken between 2005 and 2007.
In 2005, the restoration works of the chandeliers placed in the north and south porches of the building, had been started.

The chandeliers peculiar formal features can be referred to the handicrafts typically made in Piedmont, with 12 lights and a brass silvery structure enriched by Bohemian crystals; the sizes are 230 cm tall with a diameter of 160 cm. The handicraft structure showed a totally oxidized green coloured surface. While carefully dismantling them, several broken glass cups and other glass parts had been discovered. Most of the damages were related to an advanced level of deterioration. In agreement with the commissioners and the Superintendency’s officer in charge, the missing pendants had not been replaced in both chandeliers for maintaining the authenticity of the artworks.
The metal structures had been polished with Rochelle salts and finished with mechanical treatments, micro-brushing machinery. For the final protection, it had been applied a glazing of ochre pigmented Zapon diluted in a nitrous solvent 30%.
A renewed electrical system had been installed as requested by the Restoration Manager, with a system doubling in the low perimetral area. Both handicrafts had been provided with grounding systems.

The bookshop is enlightened by a chandelier by the “Muranese” school with two levels of lighting, made in golden glass, datable around 1920; the size is 350 cm tall with a diameter of 240 cm.
The handicraft was purchased in 1927 for the “sala degli Stucchi” (now called Camera delle Guardie).
It suggests an eighteenth century model denominated “Rezzonico” as a homage to its series ancestor. A chandelier invented and made by Giuseppe Briati (Muran 1686 – Venice 1772) for the palace owned by the family Rezzonico in Venice on the Canal Grande.
According to the Rezzonico model, the chandelier of Palazzo Madama, with its 46 lights, is structured with supporting branches without the central trunk. The metal structure is covered by elements in blown and golden glass.
Each single piece is made of “rigadin” glass, so with longitudinal and spiral striping patterns,broken by linking puffy elements and on the top decorated with flowers and leaves.
The chandelier dismantled in 2003 has been re-built in 2007, and due to this operation, a proper event has been created and named “Cristalli di Luce”.
The first phases of this process started in the huge Sala del Senato of Palazzo Madama and they had been completed in the Bookshop.

The restoration works had been carried out by fulfilling the following phases:
_ Inventory and archiving of the pieces and photo taking;
_ Polishing and technical analysis of the conservation status;
_ Refurbishment of the plaster in the supporting glass cups;
_ Preassembly of the dorsal;
_ Reinforcement of the bottom supporting wooden plates with Paraloid;
_ Cleaning of the glass parts with gas water in 2% of benzyl chloride (surfactant and product made to prevent bacteria in the glass parts);
_ Remake of all the golden parts (pendant ornaments) with brass wire 8/10; wiring by law.

[di Francesco Panaciulli]