Through the artistic vision of Paul Chalfin, Vizcaya’s Artistic Director, these dragons were converted into electric lights, effectively merging aesthetics with utility. The dragons’ open mouths were outfitted with three lightbulbs and installed on the north and south sides of the second-floor galleries of the Main House.
These fantastical light fixtures were recently de-installed and treated for conservation. The dragons were wet cleaned to remove surface contaminants, unveiling their hidden beauty. One had lost its tail, which was reattached using conservation-grade adhesive. Any missing parts were filled with matching conservation-grade material and in-painted – a conservation process whereby damaged parts of an artwork are filled in to present a complete image, or as in this case, to match the surrounding area.
They have since returned to their respective posts, lighting opposite corners of the Main House’s second floor.
As you explore Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the reinvigorated dragon lanterns greet you, embodying history, innovation, and our commitment to their preservation. Help Vizcaya continue to preserve its vast collection by making an online donation. Together, we can safeguard this rich cultural heritage for future generations to explore and appreciate.
This story was part of a program live streamed on August 17, 2023, which was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.