Back To Schedule
Thursday, May 29 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Paintings Session) Oil Paintings on metal support: study, intervention and challenges

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

The Paintings Conservation Laboratory of the National Center for Conservation and Restoration (CNCR) was requested to restore part of a collection of paintings belonging to the Museo O’Higginiano y de Bellas Artes, from Talca, a city in the center-south of Chile. The interesting thing was that all of them were oil paintings on metal support. This was the first time the Paintings Conservation Lab had to face the intervention of objects of this kind, so the conservation and restoration of these paintings became the opportunity to learn about an unknown topic, and also to face the challenge of performing the appropriate treatments to ensure the future existence of these works of art.

These paintings were bought in Europe by the end of the XIX century, and later donated to Talca’s Museum. Three of them are medium sized (62 x 78 cm. aprox) and the other two are smaller (25 x 19 cm. aprox). It is believed that at least three of them are Flemish paintings, since one is signed by Flemish artist Willem Van Herp (XVII century), and there is another one with very similar characteristics but not signed, while a third one is different in iconography, but similar in other aspects. The small ones could be American instead of European, but they are still being studied. The painting that is signed by Van Herp is dated in 1655, what makes it the oldest object that has been treated in the Paintings Conservation Lab.

The paintings have been photographed, non-destructive analyses were performed (UV photographs and IR reflectography), and samples were taken to identify the painting technique and materials. In addition, metal supports were analyzed through X-ray fluorescence to know its composition: four of them are copper plates and one is an iron-tin alloy.

In addition, a wide research was made to understand the technique used by Flemish artists in the making of paintings on these supports, that are so different to canvas, and to collect information on the most appropriate methods and materials to restore paintings with these characteristics. Some of the damages are distortions of the support, ground and paint film losses, abrasion, lack of adhesion to the support, corrosion, yellowing of the varnish, previous interventions in bad condition and over-paints that cover big areas. In addition, two of them had cradles, which showed lack of adhesion to the copper plate in some areas. It is believed that environmental conditions may have contributed to the damages, because Talca is a dry and hot city in summer, and cold
and humid in winter, so the paintings will be returned with recommendations on proper exhibition and deposit conditions.

In order to perform treatments in the proper way, prototypes were made with copper plates, to make tests of adhesion, consolidation, fillings and chromatic reintegration. At present we are working in cleaning and consolidation, and then the other stages of the restoration will be executed.

avatar for Monica Perez

Monica Perez

Conservator, Centro Nacional de Conservacion y Restauracion
I studied Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Objects in 2003 and started working at the National Center for Conservation and Restoration in 2007. I participated in several interesting projects, like the restoration of a series of colonial paintings on the life of Saint Teresa... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 4:30pm - 5:00pm PDT
Bayview A-B