We present some images which summarizes the seven months of GRANDA's intervention in the custody of the Cathedral of Toledo. This recording, which synthetically presents the entire process, has captured the essence of the work done in the workshop equipped inside the Cathedral itself.
Very early in the morning, when Toledo was just waking up and the Cathedral, still empty of tourists, was preparing for the choral mass, the restorers went to the workshop every morning. This room, whose ancient doors we are invited to pass through at the beginning of the recording, has been the scene of all the studies and procedures that have been carried out on the monstrance, under strong security measures and without revealing its exact location.
As in any restoration, the first necessary action was the disassembly of the piece, which in this case presented the difficulty of being three pieces, whose large custody of Arfe's seat alone consisted of several thousand pieces. In the complexity of its structure we admire the ingenuity of Enrique de Arfe, who conceived it so that it could be completely disassembled. So complicated is it, that six bodies of large drawers were necessary to store its pieces in an orderly fashion, following the instructions left by the silversmith Vicente de Salinas, one of the first who had to face this challenge, at the end of the 16th century.
Not all the work has been carried out directly on the piece, since this valuable Salinas notebook was known thanks to historiographic studies of the sources. These have been joined by the exhaustive documentation of each of the pieces that compose it, measuring, weighing and describing them. To observe a work of this magnitude disassembled is a unique opportunity not only for a good documentation, but also for other studies.
One of GRANDA's greatest contributions in the field of restoration is its ability to form multidisciplinary teams with top professionals, including its silversmiths. Their knowledge of artisanal techniques is key, especially for the intervention on the support and mechanical alterations of the piece, which are always resolved in strict compliance with restoration criteria.
Access to all the elements of the monstrance has allowed for physicochemical analysis and a detailed gemological study, which has revealed the high quality and provenance of the emeralds and the magnificent asteroid sapphire of the gold monstrance, from Colombia and Sri Lanka respectively.
The cleaning, which requires the most meticulous and patient work, has made it possible to eliminate the dirt deposited on the work, the varnish from previous interventions and the oxide of the silver. X-rays taken of two of the figures have completed the studies, providing valuable information on their internal configuration.
The enamels of the gold monstrance, of great beauty and originality, had suffered certain losses, which have been reintegrated, with reversible material, so that its original appearance can be appreciated. To finalize the intervention, the whole has been protected with a substance that will prevent oxidation, after which it was mounted.
The monstrance of the cathedral, already restored, could process through the streets of Toledo last May 26, as every year on the day of Corpus Christi.