Restoration of the jewel "The Angel's Cross"
The jewel "The Angel's Cross" forms part of the jewelry collection that the FGSD incorporated into its holdings in 2001 and which can now be visited in its entirety in the Dalí -Joies annex to the Theatre Dalí Museum after its restoration.
"The Angel's Cross" is a jewel-sculpture of great complexity, both on a technical level as on a symbolic level.
It is composed of materials such as gold for the figure of the cross and of the Christ; platinum and round-cut diamonds forming the thorns; natural emerald-cut citrine, red coral forming a cross and branches extended at the base; a lapis lazuli ball and irregular blocks of polished flat surfaces; and a natural mineral base of pyrite-marcasite, with the intervention by Salvador Dalí of a Christ painted in oil and liquid amber. It is the first of the jewels in which the arts of painting and sculpture are combined and the third of the "animated" jewels after the "Royal Heart" and "The Living Flower". For this reason, it is equipped with a motorized mechanism that acts by moving the spines.
It is also, according to Salvador Dalí, the most ambitious of all jewels and represents the treatise of existence, the gradual transformation of the mineral world into the angel. The rhythm of the thorns refers to the animal world. The mineral world is represented by the lapis lazuli ball, the vegetable world by the coral, and the spiritual world of man by the figure of the cross. The sculpture is built on the symbolism of the number twelve represented by the twelve thorns, a symbol of the twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve gates of the new Jerusalem.
This jewel suffered a degradation of the mineral at the base. Therefore, we began several lines of intervention that consisted of: - Observation of the piece and discussion on possible causes by specialists in gemology, jewelry and mineralogy by Noa Florensa, Montserrat Bagué and Josep M Serrano.
- Analysis of the composition of materials using X-ray fluorescence, a task performed by Jordi Ibáñez and Soledad Alvarez of the X-Ray Diffraction Service of Geosciences Barcelona (GEO3BCN-CSIC).
- To verify the cause of the problem, we performed a sample analysis to determine if the cause of the degradation was the presence of bacteria, a task performed by Joan Gutiérrez doctoral student at the Faculty of Geology of the UB in collaboration with the biologist Magdalena Brasas.
- Restoration of the base of the jewel: Mr. Joan Rosell, a specialist in minerals, carried out the intervention, with the collaboration of Noa Florensa. We attach the LINK to the process of restoration.
- Preventive Conservation: when verified that a specific increase in humidity was the cause of the damage to the base of the jewel, the Department of Conservation and Restoration adapted the display case, where it is on permanent display, in order to achieve a relative humidity of 30% which is the ideal percentage for the correct conservation of the piece. This was carried out by both FGSD and SIT technicians.
Thus, this has been a task of conservation and restoration carried out in collaboration with specialists in various fields. We thank all of them for their intervention and availability.