Rosangela Reis Costa, restorer and coordinator of the restoration project. Photo: Leo Lara.
Rosangela Reis Costa, restorer and coordinator of the restoration project. Photo: Leo Lara.

The Casa Fiat de Cultura, in Belo Horizonte, gradually returns to face-to-face activities as it celebrates its 15th anniversary and the reunion with the public through the restoration of works by the great Baroque master Aleijadinho. Are they Santa Ana Mestra, belonging to the Chapel of Sant'Ana, in the community of Chapada de Ouro Preto; São Joaquim, from the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, in Raposos; and São manuel, from the collection of the Parish of Nossa Senhora do Bonsucesso, in Caeté.

The first moment of the project, which began on November 3, takes place with the opening of the live restoration workshop. The studio will be set up in the hall Casa Fiat de Cultura and will be open to the public by appointment, with free admission. As of December 2nd, the exhibition will be inaugurated, revealing the works of São Joaquim e São manuel already restored, while the image of Santa Ana Mestra must continue in the process of restoration, live, for public appreciation. The last step will be the launch, next year, of the eBook (only in Dutch at the moment) about the exhibition, with all the history and record of the restoration process, culminating with the delivery of the works to their communities.

In parallel, Casa Fiat will show the web series Aleijadinho, revealed art: the legacy of a restoration at Casa Fiat de Cultura on social networks, a way to share the details of this initiative with those who are not in Belo Horizonte.

The restoration of the three works by Aleijadinho will be carried out by Grupo Oficina de Restauro, with the technical support of IPHAN (Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage). The dynamics to be developed will allow the approximation between visitors and restorers, who will be able to follow the whole step by step and get to know the backstage of a restoration, either through scheduled in-person visits, or through the windows of Casa Fiat de Cultura or, also through virtual programming.

Before the restoration process started, scientific photos were taken using ultraviolet fluorescence, which allows analyzing the pictorial layer and the state of conservation of surface varnishes, and infrared, to identify possible risks and designs that are not seen with the naked eye. . In addition, to identify all the unions between the wooden blocks and the nails used in the making of each piece of the sculptural set, the works also underwent a reading offered by the X-ray.

All images will go through the same intervention process, which includes, among other steps, cleaning the work, containment of cracks, reintegration of gaps and stains, complementation of missing parts with putty and the application of varnish, which protects the surface. Finally, the pieces will be placed in a bag without the presence of oxygen – which guarantees the total disinfestation of termites in wood – and immunized by a chemical barrier to prevent further attacks. “The intervention we will carry out will be as subtle as possible and able to be retractable, so as not to prevent future restorations. After all, we are working with the rescue of culture, memories and, above all, with the preservation of the history of a great master”, reinforces the restorer Rosangela Reis Costa.

On institution

Casa Fiat de Cultura is located in the historic building of Palácio dos Despachos and features, on a permanent basis, the panel by Portinari, Mining Civilization, 1959. The space is part of one of the most expressive cultural corridors in the country, the Liberdade Circuit, in Belo Horizonte.

Reopening protocols: To visit the institution, it will be mandatory to wear a mask covering mouth and nose at all times. Before entering, everyone will have their temperature checked, and the tour will only be allowed if it is lower than 37,5ºC. In addition, visitors are instructed on hand hygiene and cleaning of all environments is being done more frequently, informs Casa Fiat.

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