“The secrets to cleaning paintings” Follow Lesson no. 2 by Maestro Basiglio

lesson N°2

Cleaning artworks

Cleaning paintings is an extremely delicate task. All too frequently the restorers of the past used the wrong solvents and corroding mixtures, which have destroyed some of our major artworks. Today's procedures absolutely minimise damage of this kind.

Let's start out with water. It is pH-neutral. We can gradually increase its alkaline or acidic values.

We have the dirt and grime which has formed a sediment and has corroded the painting over the years. We have to use various kinds of solvents. Here too, the Gabbantichità workshop adopts the contemporary approach to restoration. It intervenes without altering the original values of the canvas, whose worth is thus conserved.

The triangular solubility graph

The question of use of possibly very harmful solvents is tackled through adoption of the triangular solubility graph. This triangle is a scheme (now a software resource, available online) which we can adopt as we mix alcohol, hydrocarbons and ketones on the basis of the problems posed by the painting and by cleaning procedures.

Cleaning by portions

Thanks to the triangular solubility graph we can now select the most appropriate mixtures of solvents for cleaning paintings. But this is not enough. Only through the empirical method of cleaning separate portions of the work can we decide which material is the most efficient and also the least invasive. Here at Gabbantichità, we draw small squares onto the work and apply swabs soaked in various solvents until we find the best solvent for our purposes.

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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.

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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.

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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