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Title: De spektakelzaal van de Koninklijke Muntschouwburg in Brussel en het gebruik van carton-pierre
Author(s): SNAET, Joris , DECKERS, Katrien
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Interieurgeschiedenis en Design
Volume: 35    Date: 2006   
Pages: 57-80
DOI: 10.2143/GBI.35.0.2029541

Abstract :
This article describes the restoration of the performance hall of the Brussels Royal Monnaie Theatre. The project was directed by the Restoration Department of the Belgian Federal Buildings Agency. Since the theatre is closed during summer holidays, the work had to be divided into five annual campaigns. In 2003 the two front loges were restored, in 2004 the proscenium arch, in 2005 the two lower and in 2006 the two upper balconies. In 2007 the restoration of the entablature and the pendentives of the cupola were carried out.

For the restoration, use was made of the original 19th-century technique of carton-pierre for the sculptural ornaments as well as the gilding technique of dorure à l’effet or or réhaussé. The application of these techniques demanded considerable historical and practical research but turned out to guarantee the highest artistic quality of the restored elements. This article pays special attention to the technique of carton-pierre, describing its historical background and composition.

Historical research demonstrated that it was impossible to reconstruct the hall in its original state. A consolidation of the actual situation was also not an option since many ornaments were considerably damaged and because of the insufficient quality of the finishing of many elements. It was therefore decided to partly uncover and reconstruct underlying historical layers in order to restore to the hall its lost magnificent appearance.

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