Back To Schedule
Saturday, May 31 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Paintings + Wooden Artifacts Session) Modern Materials and Practice in Gilding Conservation

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

This paper wants to share with colleagues how the guiding principle of reversibility has been translated into the practice of frame and gilding conservation during the past quarter century at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. With a plethora of synthetic materials available it is often hard to see the forest for the trees. It sometimes leads to overly complicated approaches, or to clinging to just that one favorite material even though the case at hand may not call for just that.

In a field where art history and material sciences overlap, different opinions about treatment approaches and end results are inherent. This is not a problem but a pleasure to participate in. The presented case studies will touch upon the technical aspects of restorations as well as frequent communications with other conservators and with curators. Collaboration with colleagues has traditionally taken place within a rather large forum of conservators and curators, especially within the paintings department at the Rijksmuseum.

The presentation intends to shed light also on reasoning and common sense that have lead to the choice of contemporary media for gilding restoration like for example aquazol, plextol and acrylics in combination with traditional materials such as rabbit skin glue, shellac, dextrin or gum Arabic. Economy of means is important, not just in terms of the cost of labor and materials, but also as a process with its own beauty and appeal. Usually there is more than one approach possible to approach a conservation project. Individual preferences and talents of the conservator are also valid factors in deciding on a treatment approach. For example, in restoring or part of a sculpture, or ornamentation, one colleague prefers to restore by carving a missing piece out of wood while another is more expedient at modeling it out of paper mache. The end result of both approaches can be equally effective and convincing if done with skill and finesse.

Case studies include the conservation and restoration of picture frames and a gold ground panel painting by Lorenzo Monaco (Stigmata of the Holy St. Francis of Assisi; ca.1420). Some frames are still original to their paintings. The discussed frames are connected to works by the following painters Cornelis Kruseman (Piety; frame & painting 1823), Georgius Johannes Jacobus van Os (two large pendant still lives; frames & paintings 1817 and 1818), Pierre Prud’hon (Portrait of Jan Schimmelpenninck and His Family; frame & painting 1801-1802), Ludolf Bakhuysen (frames 1661), Cornelis Engebrechtsz (Christ in the House of Mary and Martha; frame & painting 1515-1520), Master of  the  Conversazione di Santo Spirito (Madonna and Child; frame last quarter 15th C.).

With special thanks to Camille Marchand from The Netherlands, David Beaudin from North Carolina, Lea Wegwitz from France and Satu Rantala from Finland, who contributed to the work in several of the case studies to be presented.

avatar for Hubert Baija

Hubert Baija

Senior Conservator of Frames and Gilding, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
As a senior conservator at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Hubert Baija is responsible for the conservation of 7000 antique picture frames. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. Hubert teaches gilding conservation, historical technology... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 11:00am - 11:30am PDT
Bayview A-B