Depending on the level of conservation needed to preserve the painting, a proposal can range from an aesthetic treatment where the tonal balance of the piece is recovered through cleaning; to stabilization of the layered structure where the paint and ground layers are consolidated; to full structural conservation where the support is repaired as in a tear repair or lining.
A typical treatment may involve all or some of the following:
Knowledge of artist's materials is critical in choosing the materials and method to clean a painting.
Grime Removal: Years of dirt and grime can accumulate on the paint surface obscuring the image. An appropriate system to remove the grime is designed after careful examination and testing of the paint and grime layer.
Varnish thinning: Varnishes can discolor over time and disrupt the tonal balance of the painting. A yellowed natural resin varnish is removed on the right half of the painting.
STABILIZATION AND LOSS COMPENSATION
The complex layered structure of a painting can cause inherent problems requiring conservation.
Flaking Paint: The paint and ground layers are lifting off
of the support exposing the canvas beneath.
These losses require consolidation to prevent further loss.
Fills: Once the paint layer is secured to the support,
the losses are filled to match the level and
texture of the surrounding area.
Fill material can be comprised of a variety
of materials sympathetic to the properties of the painting.
AESTHETIC RE-INTEGRATION OF FILLED LOSSES
Inpainting: Filled losses are inpainted to match the original paint.
An isolating layer is applied and only the areas of filled loss are retouched.
The tacking margin, the edge of the painting that folds over the stretcher, secures the canvas to the wooden stretcher. It can become brittle and weak over time and was often removed entirely in old restorations if the painting was lined to a new fabric. Restoring the integrity of tacking margins is vital in supporting the painting.
A strip lining is attached to reinforce deteriorated tacking margins.
Strip lining attached to replace missing tacking margins.
The painting is being re-attached to the stretcher, first with push pins and then with tacks once proper placement and tension is achieved.