The Story of Francesco Solimena‘s Painting


Date: 21.06.2005 - 31.12.2005

Phaethon

National Gallery in Prague/ Collection of Old Masters
From June 21, 2005 in the permanent exhibition of the Collection of Old Masters in Sternberg Palace.

Presentation of this work of art is held under the auspices of His Excellency Giorgio Radicati, Ambassador of Italy in Prague.

The restoration of the painting was financially supported by the Society of Friends of the National Gallery in Prague from a donation by the city of Mantua.

Curator and editor: Jiří Fronek

Restoration team:
Petr Berger
Tomáš Berger
Šárka Bergerová
Vlastimil Berger
Aleš Katcetl
Peter Stirber
Tomáš Záhoř
Jana Záhořová
Stratigraphic research was executed and analysed by: Laboratory of Dorothea Pechová
Metal suspension components: Vladimír Marat

Design of the frame: Jiří Fronek
Manufactoring of the frame: JANOV, Jaroslav Novák
Graphic layout of printed materials: Helena Šantavá

Main media partner: Hospodářské noviny
Financial partner of the Education Departments of NG in Prague: HVB Bank
Partners: Classic FM, ČRO 3– Vltava, Prague Best

Entrance fee:
Full: 150 CZK
Reduced: 70 CZK
Family: 200 CZK

Public Relations Department of the Collection of Old Masters: Kateřina Boháčová (233 357 332), Hradčanské nám. 15, Prague 1, 119 00
Phaethon: The Story of Francesco Solimena’s Painting
Sternberg Palace, ground floor,
The oval hall of the projection

Old Masters Collection of the National Gallery in Prague has prepared a presentation of an important work of the late Italian Baroque – a monumental ceiling painting on canvas by Francesco Solimena: Phaethon Begging the Chariot of Apollo. A canvas of imposing dimensions (402 x 727 cm), damaged by a transfer in the past and deposited for decades, is now being presented to the general public after a complex restoration. The painting has been set in the vault of the oval hall on the ground floor of Sternberg Palace’s projection as part of the permanent collection of Old European Masters. The oval projection is an architectural gem of the palace. Viewed from the courtyard, it is concealed, but when a visitor enters the garden, which will be re-opened on this occasion, it appears in all its beauty. The garden front is a unique example of the harmony achieved between the Baroque architecture and its natural surroundings.

Restoration work was carried out in 2004/05 by a team of specialists led by the painter Tomáš Berger. Here, the horizontal suspension of such a large canvas was carried out for the first time in modern-day history, requiring a number of nonconventional technical solutions. To prevent sagging of the large surface of the canvas, an original stabilising system was designed – the canvas was attached to a special structure. The framed painting is also set into the vault in an atypical manner, using stainless-steel rods provided with anchors with flexible heads. The restoration of the painting was financially supported by the Society of Friends of the National Gallery in Prague, with the use of a donation by the city of Mantua.

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