Restoration of the main altar
The restorers have been returning the altar the original design which combines gold and copper.
The team of restorers under the supevrision of Daniela Talavera continue in removing the upper layers of the paintings on the middle part of the altar, they restore its golden ornaments and the wooden architecture with marble imitation. The final design of the altar will combine gold and copper. This is the original colouring which the altar had at the time of its origin in the first quarter of the 18th centrury. It can already be seen on the upper part of the altar and on the statues which have been restored in 2017.
The statues of the spiritual fathers and founders of the Order of the Discalced Carmelite – Elijah, Eliseus, Theresa of Jesus and John of the Cross – were restored in accordance with the overall concept in 2017. Before they will be placed back on their spots on the main altar they will be shown in the church this year, when you can use a unique opportutity to explore them from short distance.
Several years ago, before the restoration of this temple’s interior commenced, I was asked, as an expert, to outline the overall concept of the restoration of the interior as a whole as well as the restoration of all the individual altars.
Restoration is a complex process seeking to preserve the monument itself, its essence, while looking for the path to its original presentation and howthe way it looked like at the time of its creation. All the movable monuments housed in this church have undergone multiple changes since their placement in the 17th century. In particular we need to mention the colour of polychromes in the sculptural decoration of the individual altars. The restoration process and the search for the right path were always preceded by an extensive discussion with the representatives of the National Heritage Institute. All the restoration surveys used as a basis for the initial approach were analysed in great detail.
The latter layers of paint needed to be removed from the sculptural decoration of the altars – the figures of the saints and angels – the polychrome layers in the face areas in particular. In many places, gilding washad been applied on a new underlying chalk layer. The layer was too thick and as a consequence it completely hidtotally degraded the original expressive quality of the carving and at the same time covered the fragmentary original layer on which copper foil was laid. It was decided that the gilding – applied probably in the 19th century – would be removed and the original copper foil restored.
Doc. Petr Kuthan, sculptor and restorer
The restoration is financed by the Church of the Infant Jesus from donations of many individuals and with support of the City of Prague (2017 – 48 000 EUR) and the Czech Ministry of Culture (2006-2018 54 000 EUR).