The Fundación Barrié is a privately endowed foundation based in Galicia, Spain (NW), developing programs in the areas of Education, Research, Heritage, Culture and Social Issues. Within its area dedicated to Culture and Heritage the Foundation has a long-term commitment to promoting the cultural, economic and social development of Galicia based on enhancing the region’s heritage, to be achieved by means of its comprehensive management.
The Fundación Barrié promotes the concept summed up in the maxim “Prevention is the best restoration”, and works to create awareness of the importance of preserving our heritage, a shared responsibility involving each and every one of us. The Santiago Cathedral Project and its core project about the preventive conservation and restoration of the Portal of Glory, follows these guidelines.
The link between the Fundación Barrié and the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, which started over four decades ago, has materialized into investments for almost €9m destined to conservation, promotion and restoration projects for various areas in the Cathedral such as the reconstruction of the stone choir carved by Maestro Mateo and open to the public in the Santiago Cathedral Museum, or the project to produce wooden replicas of the 19 musical instruments depicted in the Portal of Glory which are now part of the exhibition Portal Virtual.
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral Project, initially funded by the Fundación Barrié through a donation of 4,000,000 € as a reflection of the Foundation’s commitment to the retrieval of Galicia’s historical and cultural heritage, is the most ambitious of its kind carried out to date within the cathedral. Jointly designed and undertaken by the Fundación Barrié, the Archdiocese of Santiago and the Cathedral Chapter, with the collaboration of the Regional Government of Galicia and the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the work being done is necessarily characterised by a respect for this major place of worship and pilgrimage, the finishing point of the first European Cultural Itinerary to be proclaimed by the Council of Europe and a World Heritage Site.
The Portico of Glory is the crowning glory of the Romanesque part of Santiago Cathedral and a major milestone in the history of art. The passage of time, changing tastes and the retouching and/or overpainting of the polychrome, the erosion and wear resulting from atmospheric conditions and use, and the effect of damp, pollution and certain customs have all contributed to its deterioration, making it necessary to implement a preventive conservation and restoration project.
After the process of analysing the data gathered during the preliminary study phase of the project to preserve and restore the Portal of Glory of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, and on the basis of its conclusions the combined Cathedral Project management team (consisting of representatives from the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Galician Regional Government) an action plan has been drafted setting out the measures to be taken in order to reduce the risks that have been detected to a minimum and guarantee the Portico’s future conservation.
The project’s timing and stages are set by scientific needs based on essential and critical diagnostic data, the drafting of a preventive conservation plan and the actions finally proposed for the Portico:
- Stage 1: Preliminary studies and the drafting of the Preventive Conservation Plan (2008-2011)
- Stage 2: Restoration of sculpture and polychrome (scheduled to commence in 2014)