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Saturday, May 31 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Paintings + Wooden Artifacts Session) Recent Developments in the Evolution of Spring-Loaded Secondary Supports for Previously Thinned Panel Paintings

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Warped panel paintings were commonly treated in the 19th and early 20th Centuries by thinning the panel to increase flexibility and to obtain a flat surface on which to attach a cradle. As is well known, the sliding cross-members frequently became blocked and accumulated stresses eventually caused cracking, splitting, and other deformations of the panel. Subsequent treatments often require removal of the cradle in order to repair the splits and adjust the surface curvature. After treatment, the panels are often too fragile on their own without additional secondary support to increase stability.  The need for increased stability while still allowing for expansion, contraction, and cross-grain flexing of the panel during humidity fluctuations eventually led to the use of springs.
Springs were first used in the design of secondary supports for panel paintings in Italy in the mid 1970’s. Research began at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome and later continued at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.
In recent years, new designs for controlling movement in wood panels have been developed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This paper will review the most recent designs of the spring mechanisms themselves as well as refinements to certain characteristics of the support strainers. 

avatar for M. Alan Miller

M. Alan Miller

Assistant Conservator, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alan Miller is an Assistant Conservator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art specializing in the structural conservation of panel paintings. He received an M.A. degree in Art History from the University of Washington (Seattle) and Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings... Read More →


George Bisacca

Conservator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mr. Bisacca trained in conservation in Italy, working for five years at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence before joining the Paintings Conservation Department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1983, specializing in the structural treatment of paintings on solid support. During his... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 2:00pm - 2:30pm PDT
Bayview A-B