El Blog del museo Picasso de Barcelona

The recuperation of the neoclassical splendour of the Palau del Baró de Castellet of the Museu Picasso

Thanks to a comprehensive conservation and restoration intervention, carried out over the past few months by the team of restorers of Blanca Lopez de Arriba, Beatriz Montoliu and Jesús Zornoza, the visitors to the museum will once again be able to enjoy this singular decorative ensemble.

Detail of the cleaning and recuperation process of the original marble-work

Detail of the cleaning and recuperation process of the original marble-work

It has been a high level work (not suitable for people suffering from vertigo) given the fact that to be able to reach the furthest corners of the cornice it was necessary to install a complex scaffolding structure 9 metres above the floor.

Making the final touches with the help of a lift A restorer during the cleaning process

Making the final touches with the help of a lift | A restorer during the cleaning process

This meticulous work has allowed the recuperation of 80m2 of ceiling and 280m2 of richly decorated walls with imitation effects of marble, gold-plating and porcelain on the pilasters, cornices and sculptures that had become hidden with the passing of time and rather unfortunate previous interventions.

Barcelona has always been a lively city and in constant change and the Palau del Baró de Castellet (the Palace of the Baron of Castellet) is a good example of this.  Towards the end of the 18th century, the original gothic structure was partially transformed. The building was refurnished according to the taste of the period, thus bearing testimony to the will of its owner of integrating the new neoclassical trends that the Age of Enlightenment advocated in architecture.

Restoration processRestoration processThe final result

Various stages of the process | The final result

This room, probably decorated after 1792 (the date in which the Baron received his title of nobility), representsone of the few conserved examples of neoclassical interior architecture in Barcelona and is testimony of the French-style taste that the Baron had been able to see on a trip to Saint Petersburg.

The decoration brings together a complete repertoire of neoclassical motifs: an exuberance of cornices, pilasters, stucco-work and gold-plated surfaces, carved wooden reliefs and sculptures wit putti and busts of philosophers. Some strategically installed mirrors give an overall visual effect of depth and perspective.

Since the creation of the Museu Picasso, the room has been a multi-purpose space included in the circuit of the visit of the Collection, but the use and the passing of time had led to its deterioration.

Before the cleaning processAfter the cleaning process
Before and after the cleaning process

The intervention that has been carried out had three main goals: to halt the processes of disrepair typical of a space that annually receives around a million visitors, to carry out a maintenance and cleaning of the overall space and to recuperate the spirit of the original decoration, eliminating the previous actions that had spoilt it, getting it away from the 18th centurystyle.

 Working on the ceiling

Working on the ceiling

The magnificent final result is due to an aesthetic and technical commitment that has allowed the recuperation of the overall decorative unit, without forgetting the remedial interventions essential for its conservation. Parallel to this, other actions of preventive conservation have been carried out, focusing on the improvement of the infrastructure.

Reyes Jiménez
Head of the department of preventive conservation and restoration

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