“Diagnostic analyses before restoration” Follow Lesson no. 1 by Maestro Basiglio

lesson N°1

Analysis of artworks

To bring a painting back to life, we must first study it, through a number of analyses. Only then will it be possible for us to intervene without harming the canvas and paint. We start by photographically studying the work. The photos serve not just as a tool for study. They are then all stored in an archive, and are a vital part of the documentation to be submitted to the principal commissioning the work when the restoration process has been completed. Enzo shows how we assess a painting whose film of original paint has come loose at certain points. Here, we note that certain parts of the canvas are more severely damaged than others.

The more extensive the visible "craquelé" is, the more painstaking the task of restoration must become.

The Wood's lamp, reflectography and backlighting

Having analysed the paint and the back of the painting we can then carry out the diagnostic analyses themselves, which shall indicate the best approach to the restoration work. The first examination is conducted with a Wood's lamp, i.e. UV fluorescent light that highlights the re-painting work carried out over the original paint. We then use reflectography which enables us to see the artist's original drawing in the work. Then comes backlighting. Here, we project a beam of light onto the canvas to see where the material has degraded and where the paint is loose.

Diagnostic analysis is essential if we are to learn about the painting and then work on it without destroying its value as a record, both of its own past and of its era.

Video microscope

The last of the investigations is conducted using a video microscope. This stage is extremely important for dating the painting and also dating later work carried out on the painting. Enzo explains that the tones of the colours will tend to change over the years, and that only with this instrument (which sees much more than the naked eye can see) can we then precisely date our work.

After completing all the diagnostic analyses, and when, on the basis of the results, we have learned where and how to carry out our tasks, we can then proceed with the next restoration stages.

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art restoration course

In 6 lessons Enzo Basiglio 'walks us through' the basics of modern restoring, where the traditions of yesteryear are supplemented with the innovatory "minimal intervention" approach. Using leading-edge technologies, interventions thus become increasingly precise and less invasive.

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the programme

the programme

  • 13_02_2015 13_02_2015
  • 20_02_2015 20_02_2015
  • 27_02_2015 27_02_2015
  • 06_03_2015 06_03_2015
  • 13_03_2015 13_03_2015
  • 20_03_2015 20_03_2015

Lesson n° 1

How to study a work of art before restoring it. Diagnostic analyses: the Wood's lamp, reflectography, backlighting and the video microscope.

Lesson n° 2

Cleaning paintings with solvents and mixtures that will not degrade the original tone - including the triangular solubility graph and the empirical method.

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Lesson n° 3

What do we find hidden away behind a painting? How to remove the backing, clean the original canvas and uncover the secrets of yesteryear.

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Lesson n° 4

Consolidation and the hot table. Innovative methods for fixing colours and regenerating the canvas.

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Lesson n° 5

Stuccoing and levelling canvases. What is resin wax, and what's it used for?

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Lesson n° 6

All the techniques for integration of the colours in paintings: mimetic, hatching and mixed.

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