The chandeliers saved from the earthquake


de Majo is proud to be part of an unusual cultural operation that combines solidarity with safeguarding the artistic heritage of the part of the region of Emilia Romagna that was hit by an earthquake in 2012.

This came about when de Majo accepted an invitation addressed to it by Murano Glass Promotion Consortium Promovetro, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and of Tourism (MiBACT), through the Superintendency of Fine Arts and Landscape for the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Ferrara, to recuperate and restore several masterpieces of glass art that had been damaged by the earthquake, including the chandeliers in the building that housed the offices and council chamber of the small town of Sant’Agostino, in the province of Ferrara.

The result of this project will be presented in an exhibition, scheduled to be held from 23 January to 28 February 2016, at the Murano Glass Museum, in partnership with the MiBACT, the Venice Civic Museums Foundation and the Municipality of Sant’Agostino, with the patronage of the Region of Veneto, the Region of Emilia Romagna, the Province of Venice, the Province of Ferrara, the City of Venice, the FAI – Italian National Trust and the University of Venice at Ca’ Foscari and with the support of the Chamber of Commerce of Venice, Rovigo and the Lagoon Delta.

The exhibition, whose design was curated by the Theatre of La Fenice, will gravitate around the imposing gold amber glass chandelier whose four levels together stand nearly five metres tall, enclosed in a circumference of nearly three metres. Made in the mid-twenties of the last century, its style echoes the great eighteenth-century Venetian tradition of monumental chandeliers, along the lines of the ones that can still be seen to this day in the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo or in Ca’ Rezzonico – the Museum of Eighteenth-Century Venice.

de Majo is proud for being able to give a second life to this incredible masterpiece of Murano artistic glass tradition. Originally intended to illuminate the room known as the Sala dei Giochi (named after the games held in Rome’s imperial arenas) in Ferrara’s Este Castle, this enormous piece of craftsmanship was moved at the end of 1933 into the council chamber of the town hall of Sant’Agostino, which was often used to host festivities from the mid-nineteenth century until the end of the Second World War. Although no certain confirmation has been found in any official documents, a persistent rumour has it that this great chandelier was moved on the order of Italo Balbo, who often attended balls with his mistress in the large chamber in this building designed by Antonio Giordani.

Together with this piece, the exhibition will also show another three, somewhat smaller, restored lamps, which were located in the same room.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book (published by Baraldi) curated by the writer and journalist Alberto Toso Fei, which describes the history of the Sant’Agostino chandeliers and the work done to restore them.