In-painting in order to disguise areas of loss is an important part of what conservators, especially paintings conservators, do. Yet it remains controversial, in part because we often imagine our beloved works of art to be in 'pristine' condition. But 'pristine' doesn't really exist, so seeing a cleaned painting without earlier varnishes, repairs and overpainting can be a shocking experience:
"It seems unbelievably disfiguring to see something full of little losses. I always ...remind people that if you were to pull those losses in general down to the corner of the picture, it’s really minimal—often just a few percent. But it’s a visual white noise that you cannot filter out. And so the personal, thoughtful process of retouching just suppresses the noise. You can’t turn back time, but it allows you to read the picture, compromised though it might be, changed though it might be."
Whatever your weekend plans, may they be as exciting and lobster-filled as the remarkable slice of life captured in this 1850s newspaper from the Victorian goldfields!
Lasers in the lab!
Go inside the research and conservation labs at the British Museum to investigate how lasers are being used for cleaning and varnish removal treatments. With large areas of restoration dating from the 1950s, this 6th century painting is a prime candidate for laser cleaning tests that won’t risk damage to original material!
Using the latest laser technology, a team of Museum scientists and conservators is uncovering the original 6th-century designs of this wall painting from Byzant...ine Egypt.
The passing of a true pioneer in the field of woven and textile art, and the creator of one particularly famous (infamous?) sock puppet!
Ethel Stein was known as a masterful weaver who "resurrected historical weaving techniques and merged them with 20th-century Bauhaus design sensibilities."
“The result was something new and profound,” Daniel Walker, former chairman of the department of textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago, said by email, “seemingly simple patterns based on geometry and shading, whose apparent simplicity had been made possible only because of the technical complexity of the weaving. Stein’s artistic legacy is thus a unique one.”
Our Northern Territory followers (and those lucky enough to visit!) should be sure to visit this extraordinary exhibition of Tiwi Islander pottery, opening from the 17th of March at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
"Two Tiwi men, Eddie Puruntatameri and John Bosco Tipiloura showed particular promise and upon their return to Bathurst Island in 1972 they established Tiwi Pottery. Over a decade later in 1984 Pirlangimpi Pottery, was established on Melville Island. This display highlights the evolution, style and direction of Tiwi pottery over 50 years."
A previously unknown portrait of Harriet Tubman has been acquired and conserved by the US Library of Congress, shedding light on a different aspect of Tubman's extraordinary life and character:
"Catalogers believe that the photograph was taken between 1867 and 1869 ... “Other iconic portraits present her as either stern or frail,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in a statement. “This new photograph shows her relaxed and very stylish.”
Professor Robyn Sloggett will give a public lecture on the 28th of March at the University of Melbourne as part of the 2018 Faculty of Arts Dean’s Lecture Series.
"Taking Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel as the point of departure, in this lecture Professor Robyn Sloggett, Cripps Foundation Chair in Cultural Materials Conservation, explores the ways in which risks to a community’s cultural heritage result in broader risks in education, health, knowledge transfer and wel...l-being; demonstrates the value of cultural material preservation; and celebrates the extraordinary documents that help us maintain a sense of who we are and who we might be."
Book now at the link below!
From animal skins to exquisite bound volumes: This captivating short film from Getty Museum detailing the processes, materials and skill required to create an illuminated manuscript!
You might need a sit down and a cup of tea after reading about the logistical and physical challenges of treating this enormous tapestry, which itself is just one in a series of 13 belonging to the collection of the National Trust at Hardwick Hall in the UK.
The conservation of just this one tapestry took 5,972 hours, and the treatment of the whole series began in 2001. 17 years later and only two tapestries remain to be treated, though the largest have been left to last!
"One famous designer chair is oozing goop. Another has exploded into puffs of foam. A bookcase’s shelves bubbled as gases formed within.
The culprits? Plastic. And time."
A wonderful find after 132 years lost at sea!
(Though if you too find a remarkably old document preserved in a bottle this weekend, we suggest consulting one of your friendly local conservators before popping it in the oven to dry it out! 😳)
For those in Victoria, there are some fantastic events on over this weekend, including the after hours opening event for 'You Can't Do That', Melbourne Museum's latest fashion exhibition on this evening (link below).
There is also the Lost Trades Fair happening in Kyneton: https://www.facebook.com/events/188585155019510/
And the 'Out Front' show opens to the public at the Here We See roaming gallery with a special artist panel scheduled for Saturday afternoon: https://www.fa...cebook.com/gallerythere/posts/177912356328188
That's your weekend sorted!
Russia is home to almost 9000 sites of significant wooden architectural heritage, with unique cultural, historical and aesthetic values, but very few of them are protected and most are at risk from neglect or active destruction to make way for the construction of new buildings.
One bright spot is "The Lion House, a peasant home with unique folk art frescoes in the village of Popovka, in southern Russia’s Saratov region, [which] has found a saviour. The restorer Julie Terekhova learned of the house as a university student in 2010, bought it before it could be turned into a banya, and transformed it into a non-profit private museum."
We’re wishing women everywhere a happy, safe and empowering International Women’s Day, particularly the many women who work hard to collect, care for and provide access to our shared cultural heritage!
Conservators often collaborate with people from other professions and disciplines to solve problems and undertake challenging treatments... including calling upon the expertise of local Hobart vets to examine this extraordinary 126-year-old taxidermied Bengal tiger from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery!
A great example of how even materials as apparently similar as different shades of paint can age quite differently, even in a pair of paintings created at the same time by the great Rembrandt himself!
"Time has been crueler to the man than the woman in part because of a crucial difference in the way their faces were depicted. It was customary at the time to paint women’s faces with a bloom of light, which meant that for light-skinned subjects, a face would be rendered with more lead white paint, which proved sturdy over the centuries."