The iconographic reading of the altarpiece can be done in several points , several times, does not mean it is top-down or bottom-up , we know this is from left to right .
"On the first level are the paintings connected to scenes of the Eucharist", explains restorative, Carolina Ferreira. " The two works are the tip of the Old Testament , the gathering of manna is ready for intervention only lacking the implementation of an end protection layer and the scene of Abraham and Abimelech is at this stage of refinishing. The plants are from the New Testament, in Ithe scenes of this supper during the time pf the repaint we could verify that there is a difference in the cloth of honor, the original red is different. There were surprises, both paintings were completely repainted and have the taste of the time and then when you end this survey there are always differences in rags, in the garments, and even the colors, the originals are more vivid. There also burns made by candles, since this is the lowest level, and even charred wood, were paintings with large gaps, hence the repintes have been made .
The full survey was carried out, because it was made on the basis of all analyzes and tests that have been done previously. We did not come here and decided to start lifting was done a lifting of the stylegraphy and the layers that exist and all this was done layer by layer to be sure of what was up",
"Radiographs were other instruments used in the survey and were important to determine whether there was some paint underneath, what is visible and see if there is repaint or not", explains Mercês Lorena, coordinator of the painting. " It is oil painting on wood , the equipment ome here, we did not retired the cadres. Digital x-ray was taken, the plate is placed behind, but could be done because there was space. In both repaint a comprehensive picture was taken, not in the remaining because repainted only happen in some details, there was no such need. It was at the time a consuming task, difficult and required a large logistics. In the painting there are four restorers coordinators and each is responsible to one of three paintings each floor. It is a year to every three paintings . "
"The second level is the story of the Virgin, the Annunciation, the Nativity where we coulf not see the details, the animals, nor the architecture , Pentecost and the Assumption of the Virgin into heaven, are paintings that have undergone restoration" as clarified young restorer, Joana Julio.
"The third level is Christ in the garden , the passion , the way to Calvary and the resurrection has already completed the restoration and the Descent from the Cross in this final phase. The paintings were too dark. In the central panel is a painting on canvas which is not part of the original set , but was placed where it can see the marks found. The painting has the dimensions of space, but we know the sides made a frame and they put up the painting to the center , before it was the ordeal, we realize that there were three niches, the central figure who would be jesus, in the flank the Virgin Mary and St. John, had lavish décor, note the marks and cavities would be a beautiful carving, it was circular and everything was painted with azurite blue element was an expensive pigment and when there was repintes used, which is a lighter blue. We found a box hoist with some elements that may be this niche, we thought that over time were braking and due to shortages the solution was to took everything and put the painting up and solve the problem. The painting is unsigned and nothing appears on radiographs , some say it may be Martim Conrado, we know there will be similarities in style, " explains the conservative restuarador Paulo Olim.
Elsa Murça accompany us back on top informing the present that " the woods are not warped , which happens a lot in altarpieces of a certain age, it does not have this problem . Diseases of the wood itself is to us, not having quite right dusk and crack easily. These woods are of the utmost quality and may indicate that came from those areas where the Flemings went to get their trees in areas where there was a guarantee of adequate growth without major storms, called Baltic oak. After the trees were marked with special symbols and this is been studied , if the ones find here will be the same or not . Have insect attacks, but as our biologist says, is wood is all biology, we must fight and made a desinfestation, cannot maintain watertight and stagnant areas should be clean, open and shaken, a part of prevention.
The difference arises from the kind of background , some are stone and other wood, but the oak was the wood used . All these elements have characteristics of Flemish sculpture, although no marks, then the artists were very demanding with his work and marked with very specific symbols as the city in which they were made Brussels , Antwerp and Ghent . I think this is the type of school Malim, but has no marks , because they probably were not done there, we have the interpretation of the artists . At that time they all came into Portugal by sea as by land from Spain and as the orders wnet they went from one side to the other. Can be an artist who learned in Malim and came here to do this work. Has yet to be determine if this work was done here on the island or was assembled here, or if it came already painted, or has been made out . The paintings reveal evidence of a different implementation, the sculptures are all contemporary .
Really on top are noted two hands , there is a person who makes a finer thing and there is another that makes the same scale, but it is different.
This side elements have thin stems, have elements with marine algae balls and then have another coarser side lacks these elements. It is all carved in wood, there are elements that have been relocated and found on a box , then there are darker touches here that we will not restore because at distance you cannot see the black spot, we did not remade forms or regolds, we just gilding the darker elements. We do not restaure. The iron bolts were never scrambled, the structure is well thought out , you see, there was never any movement, the altarpieces that is known of this time or are too golden, or have changed in decor, or were removed and placed in other sites, usually survives the painting and not the frame.
The shield of Portugal does not have the same size than this below, we see that there is continuity in the wood there is a block that was carved in the shape, everything is unique and also we see a brand. This is a Flemish work which was then mounted here, and when they saw the shield was not equal and forced them to do another one . "