Angel Corbels Aug 13, 2016

There are six plasterwork corbels along the lower edge of the altarpiece, each with an angel holding a shield on it.  Russell Bernado who specializes in gilded work doing the restoration. 

There are cracks, cupping and numerous losses in painted surface. Red and green paint was hastily and sloppily applied.

The work involved:

1. Reduction of inappropriate coatings and restoration materials from the surface of six angel brackets. 

2. Minor restoration to chips and other damage to the figural castings, at the conservator’s discretion. Application of a similar painted surface, to blend with the plaster framework.

Mr.  Bernado narrated the following:"Thursday Jesse patched the plaster, and Friday I completed work to the angel corbels. The original finish on the cast angels was a rusticated surface of mottled cream and brown tones, meant to suggest antique carved wood or stone, as similar carvings would have been in past centuries. Our new surface is very similar to the original finish and, coincidentally, a good choice to coordinate with the altarpiece.The angels appear to be architectural like brackets in old cathedrals and of similar age to the altarpiece, rather than /matching/ it, which really wouldn’t make sense. I noticed a nice dialogue between the angels and the hymn boards.

"I also installed curtain rod brackets designed to hold the same size cafe rods as you were using. The projection is adjustable, and in the contracted state they project the same distance as the old brackets + wooden blocks. These are nice quality and were only $6/pair at Home Depot. I left a sample of the packaging on your desk in case you decide to get another pair to cover the door. They go up easily."

Corbels are both functional to support a ceiling or shelf while others are purely decorative. St. Peter’s is in the latter category.  An article on Ebay fills in the origin of the word. 

" The word "corbel" has a French origin, hailing from the Latin "corbellus." Originally, only masonry was given the corbel name, while wooden structures of the same purpose were called "braggers" or "tassels." Progressively, the corbel moniker began being applied to a wider range of materials, and today, anything with a load bearing or an aesthetic function which resembles the original stone corbel is given the name."

Ours are wood with a shield being held by the angel. Other corbels are made of stone, metal or plaster. 

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