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Since the completion of the 1950's restoration campaign, the painting has hung along the south wall of the Reading Room in Falvey Memorial Library.
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Date: 2013-09-01
Professional art handlers from Atelier Art Services assisted project conservators during the de-installation process. The painting together with the wooden stretcher weighs around 500 lbs. and measures approximately 12 by 20 ft. so multiple individuals are required to safely move the artwork. A temporary caged fence was built to allow visitors to visible access to the project during off-work hours.
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Date: 2013-09-01
It was important for conservators to be able to access both the front and back of the painting throughout the duration of the treatment. Four temporary wooden battens were constructed that safely supported the painting in an upright position against the East wall of the Reading Room. The construction was designed to specifically allow for temporary access to the painting's surface, enabling conservators to remove the front of each batten when it was deemed necessary. Pieces of soft Ethafoam were also used to protect the face of the painting from the battens.
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Date: 2013-09-01
<a href="http://artdaily.com/news/66144/Historic-Pietro-da-Cortona-painting-the-focus-of-collaborative-restoration-project-at-Villanova-University#.UoEQnvlJN15" target="_blank">Click here to view the article</a>
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Date: 2013-09-06
Prior to conducting treatment, conservators always perform a thorough examination and assessment of an artworks construction and condition. The support is composed of two large sections of plain-weave canvas (with a horizontal seam running through the center). At some point during a previous restoration campaign the original fabric support was completely lined or adhered to an additional canvas, presumably to aid in the repair of structurally compromised areas (e.g. planar deformations, tears, etc.). Finally, strips of canvas were adhered along all four edges of the canvas to provide additional strength to the tattered tacking margins.
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Date: 2013-09-11
Old tears in the canvas had re-opened and subsequently covered with various adhesives and overpaint. Here you can see the planar deformation caused by one tear running through the legs of King Saul.
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Date: 2013-09-11
Shown here is a detail of the small child in the lower right corner. Unfortunately past cleaning attempts utilized solvents/cleaning methods that caused damage to the original paint layers. As a result, a significant amount of overpaint was hastily applied over remaining areas of original paint throughout the child's face and torso.
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Date: 2013-09-11
A detail taken from the kneeling woman's back showing overpaint and significant paint loss. During a previous restoration campaign, several losses in the paint layer were left unfilled leaving the bare canvas exposed. Restorers then applied overpaint directly over these losses, staining the canvas beneath.
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Date: 2013-09-11
Shown here is a detail of an old tear running through the torso of the soldier on the left. The planar deformation caused by these tears suggests that they may be the result of prolonged compression of the paint and ground layers. The painting was likely rolled (as is common with most large format artworks) to facilitate transportation and storage and may have experienced an uneven distribution of weight during this period.
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Date: 2013-09-11
Drips of old, degraded varnish were present in certain areas of the painting. The blue marker signifies an area where a small sample was collected for analysis. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) confirmed the presence of a natural resin varnish (mastic resin).
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Date: 2013-09-11
A detail showing an old fill applied during a previous restoration campaign to an area of loss in the paint and ground layers. Many of the existing fills that were found throughout the painting were found to be in good condition.
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Date: 2013-09-11
A few areas of the painting were suffering from active flaking. This detail shows a small paint flake beginning to lift away from the canvas in addition to areas of paint loss and overpaint. It is suspected that the flaking areas likely correspond to past water/moisture-related damage before the painting arrived at Villanova University.
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Date: 2013-09-11
A significant amount of overpaint was found along the left and right edges of the painting as these areas exhibited considerable areas of paint loss. This detail, taken from the red cloak of the soldier along the left edge, demonstrates the dramatic difference between the darkened overpaint and varnish with the brilliant original vermillion paint beneath.
timeline view   simple view
Date: 2013-09-11
A significant amount of overpaint was found along the left and right edges of the painting as these areas exhibited considerable areas of paint loss. This detail, taken from the red cloak of the soldier along the left edge, demonstrates the dramatic difference between the darkened overpaint and varnish with the brilliant original vermillion paint beneath.
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Date: 2013-09-11
A handful of new losses were located along the left and right edges of the painting, particularly where active flaking was noted in the paint/ground layers.
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Date: 2013-09-11
The conservation team performed a number of cleaning and consolidation tests on the painting in order to evaluate the safest and most effective method of treatment
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Date: 2013-09-21
Performed cleaning tests with Professor Richard Wolbers from the University of Delaware to determine most appropriate method to safely remove discolored/darkened surface coatings and overpaint. The bottom image shows a detail of a solvent gel being applied to areas of tenacious, darkened overpaint that had been applied over an old tear during a previous restoration. (Picture here: Richard Wolbers and Emily Wroczynski).
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Date: 2013-09-21
Began preliminary non-destructive analysis of pigments using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) with the assistance of faculty and students from Villanova's Chemistry Department. Please refer to X-Ray Fluorescence section for additional detail. (Pictured here: Kristen Watts and Dr. Amanda Norbutus)
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Date: 2013-09-21
Areas of flaking paint required remedial consolidation using a conservation adhesive (BEVA 371) before surface grime and superficial layers of varnish could be safely removed (Pictured here: Emily Wroczynski and Maggie Bearden).
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Date: 2013-09-21
Completed examination process. Continued with paint consolidation and removal of overpaint and degraded varnish. Local humidification was performed on areas of planar deformation
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Date: 2013-10-01