The Restoration of the 14th-century Painted Ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri in Palermo, 3 linked sessions
Organizers: Licia Buttà (Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona) Costanza Conti (Università di Palermo) and Antonio Sorce (Università di Palermo)
Sponsored by the Italian Art Society
The restoration of the 14th-century wooden ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte—known as Steri—began in September 2017. The ceiling was crafted between 1377 and 1380, as attested by the inscription that runs along two sides of the ceiling between beams and lacunars, in which the name of the patron is also mentioned: the powerful and noble ruler of Palermo—Manfredi Chiaromonte (d. November 1391). The surface area of the wooden ceiling measures 23 x 8 meters. The iconography is displayed uninterrupted on the three sides of the 24 beams and on the 100 coffered lacunars. After the fall of the Chiaromonte family, the palace was first occupied by King Martin I, the Humane (29 July 1356 – 31 May 1410), then by the Viceroys of Aragon, and the House of Bourbon. Between 1601 and 1782 it became the Palace of the Inquisition and later the halls of the palace were used as the Court of Appeal. Today the building is home to the rectorate of the University of Palermo. The three linked sessions seek to be a fruitful occasion to study the ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri and medieval painted ceilings in the Mediterranean in general, in terms of conservation as well as visual culture through a multidisciplinary perspective.