Re­vamped Art­work

Paint­ing con­ser­va­tion and restoration is an art of its own

Indonesia Tatler - - Life -

Ever­hard jabach and His Fam­ily, a mas­ter­piece on can­vas com­pleted in 1660 by Charles Le Brun, has seen bet­ter days. The 355-year-old fam­ily por­trait by King Louis XIV’S lead­ing painter was cov­ered in a badly tinted var­nish, had nu­mer­ous su­per­fi­cial scratches, and struc­tural dam­age had split the paint­ing nearly in half. But dam­aged paint­ings do not mean that the mas­ter­piece can­not be en­joyed: good con­ser­va­tion or pro­fes­sional restoration can bring back the value of the paint­ing to what it once was. On June 2015, af­ter a 10-month restoration at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art lead by Michael Gallagher that in­volved re­touch­ing, struc­tural work, re-var­nish­ing, and nu­mer­ous con­ser­va­tion tech­niques, this gi­ant paint­ing achieved its old glory.

Works of arts, just like all prod­ucts of civil­i­sa­tion, are prone to de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, and paint­ings, in par­tic­u­lar, are eas­ily dam­aged due to age­ing and the con­se­quences of cli­mate change. Hence, mu­se­ums and art gal­leries un­der­take spe­cial care to pre­serve the lus­tre and charm of paint­ings in their col­lec­tions. There are two things that merit at­ten­tion in the preser­va­tion of paint­ings: a cer­tain air tem­per­a­ture and at a cer­tain level of hu­mid­ity. Con­trol­ling the hu­mid­ity helps pre­vent paint­ings from dry­ing out and pos­si­bly crack­ing or becoming damp. These en­vi­rons also ap­ply to build­ings and res­i­dences with mas­ter­pieces, as well as pri­vate col­lec­tions and fam­ily heir­looms.

The pre­cious art­works are usu­ally cared for by a team of con­ser­va­tors with spe­cific ex­per­tise, like the treat­ment of paint­ings on wood pan­els or the treat­ment of modern paint­ings. Older paint­ings usu­ally have a coat­ing of var­nish to make the colours look richer and give the paint­ings some pro­tec­tion. The ma­jor­ity of modern paint­ings are not pro­tected by var­nish, which can cre­ate prob­lems for con­ser­va­tors who are try­ing to take care of them. Paint­ings that need treat­ment are taken to a spe­cially de­signed stu­dio for con­ser­va­tion and restoration.

Paint­ing con­ser­va­tion and restoration stu­dios manned by pro­fes­sion­als can be eas­ily found in Lon­don, Tokyo, Paris, and New York. In 2005 in Jakarta, Art Res­tauro Lab­o­ra­tory (AR Lab), a per­ma­nent res­i­dence in art:1, started to pro­vide ameni­ties ded­i­cated to art preser­va­tion and con­ser­va­tion ser­vices, and con­sult­ing in re­la­tion to mu­seum er­gonomics and col­lec­tion main­te­nance, stor­age or con­ser­va­tion is­sues.

Led by Mon­ica Gu­nawan, the stu­dio ren­ders the unique skills of art restoration by way of a blend­ing of tra­di­tional method­ol­ogy from Florence and state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy to en­sure sat­is­fac­tion-guar­an­teed re­sults. Strate­gi­cally lo­cated in Cen­tral Jakarta, Arte Res­tauro Lab strives to meet the high­est stan­dards thanks to its com­plete lab­o­ra­tory equip­ment and re­spon­sive restora­tive meth­ods.

Jl. Ra­jawali Se­la­tan Raya No 3, Jakarta 10720 Tel: +62 21 6470 0168, +62 21 6470 0158 Email: info@mon­ www.mon­­con­ser­va­tion



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