TECHNOLOGICAL ANSWERS
TO RESTORATION

The growing need to preserve our cultural heritage is causing a rise in the demand for increasingly accurate cleaning techniques, featuring high selectivity and low impact.

CASI DI STUDIO

WOODEN TRIPTYCH

WOODEN TRIPTYCH WITH CENTRAL CARVING, PIEDMONT WOOD CARVER, 16TH CENTURY

AUTHORITY RESPONSIBLE OF THE RESTORATION: Centro di Conservazione e Restauro della Venaria Reale, Turin

Taken from “Il laser. Pulitura su materiali di interesse artistico. Attività sperimentale” edited by Annamaria Giovagnoli, Kermes quaderni, Nardini editore.

 

History:

Early in the previous century, this polyptych became part of the Sabauda Gallery collection; it shows in the center a high relief of the Piety, with Christ in a thorny crown and two cherubs. In the section underneath, the Virgin Mary is seated holding baby Jesus in her lap. This work of art had never been treated, and the diagnosis showed some areas presenting several layers of painting over the original gilding. Both the manual and chemical cleaning methods proved unsuccessful in the removal of the layers, as the latter were adhering firmly to the gold foil. The restorers decided to attempt the removal of several color samples to assess the effectiveness of the laser technique on the various layers of materials, and confirm it would not interfere with the gold foil underneath.

LASER CLEANING METHOD:

The most suitable laser tool to carry out this work proved to be the EOS 1000 LQS system with operational parameters adapting to the different layer types. Some cases required the use of 1Hz frequencies; for some others the restorers had to damp the surface with ethylic alcohol. The cleaning allowed the highlighting of the surface gilded layer, while the presence of the deeper gold foil on Armenian bole showed only in limited areas of this work of art. The laser removal of the layers of paint has stabilized the already critical state of preservation of the triptych, significantly decreasing the risks linked to the use of solvents and the stress caused by manual removal techniques.   
 

ADOPTED SYSTEM