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Conservation and restoration of the integrated and moveable heritage

Altar Web - The balustrade delimiting the altar was made from Pau-Santo wood (Kielmeyera speciosa) – an exotic wood from the Atlantic Forest, most likely from Brazil, classified as being very dense, with excellent mechanical and aesthetic properties as well as excellent visual qualities for furniture and fine carving.


Entrance Porch Cross – The cross was made of pine, apparently a large Portuguese pine, a resinous wood. The piece was made by hand, as revealed by the existence of the marks of manual planers, quite visible when the piece is observed in low light, as well as being easily confirmed by the variable dimensions in respect of both width and the depth, with a variation that in some parts reaches 8mm.


The vertical timber is thicker than the horizontal. The pieces were fitted together with a halving joint, with dry bonding and chamfered corners.


The inlays surrounding the cross appear to have been added after the piece was mounted in place, as they delimit it perfectly.


The wooden support has a polychromatic layer, in which oil was identified as the binding agent.


In terms of polychrome, the existence of a general dark brown tone was identified, as a background colour, and on top of it, the remaining polychrome that forms the image.


The analyses carried out lead to the conclusion that, on the friar’s habit, there is a single layer of lighter brown colour, applied over the dark brown of the cross, and that the cord of his habit is yellow. At the base of the cross, where the feet are depicted, there is blue polychrome with the inscription TYPUS in white. The blue tone is composed of Prussian blue, a pigment that only started being produced in the early 18th century (c. 1710), with greater distribution and use seen in the decades that followed.


It is also worth noting that the friar’s flesh tone is formed of calcite and vermilion, an unusual mixture in representations of skin, which is usually formed of lead white and a red pigment.


Infra-red photographs and the analytical results confirmed the lack of any underlying drawing.