Renovations require the removal of a historic chandelier from Bogota’s Colon theater, causing concern for preservationists and theatergoers.
The uproar regarding the renovations was so great that the Cultural Minister issued a response on Tuesday.
Of particular concern to Bogota’s theater community is a baroque style chandelier, which was given as a gift to the Colon theater during the Pan-American Conference of 1948.
The German restoration firm that was hired to perform a $2.5 million restoration of the Colon Theater removed the chandelier because its weight was deteriorating an Italian fresco on the surrounding ceiling.
The chandelier was temporarily transferred to a theater in the city of Arauca so that the restoration experts could continue their work.
Colombia’s Cultural Minister explained to newspaper El Tiempo that they “are legally obliged to put the lamp on a free transfer process,” although some preservationists question whether the transfer of the chandelier was necessary.
Architect Emilio Sanmiguel told El Tiempo that there is no valid reason to remove the lamp, saying “If the roof resisted the weight since 1948, why won’t it now? I think this shows the incompetence of the restorers.”
The former cultural minister, Elvira Cuervo, also said that “the biggest surprise is that the [chandelier] has been dismantled and it is going where no one will see it.” The ex-minister continued, “In Arauca there are some privileged people and I congratulate them, but there were more significant sites where to put [the chandelier], like the Palacio de San Carlos, the Congress, the Palace of Justice. Removing it from the Colon Theater was never in the original plans.”
The Cultural Ministry has asked the mayor of Arauca to sign a liability policy. If the mayor does not agree to the preservation requirements, then the chandelier will be returned to Bogota and placed in the National Capital building.