My first class of the week involved restoring a hole in a painting. Elena had already mended the hole and applied stucco so that it was ready to be painted. My task was to paint the hole with guache so that it fit in with the rest of the painting.
Next, the whole painting is covered with a layer of varnish, which protects the colours of the painting from fading with exposure to light.
This week, I also learnt how to restore a frame. To replace a missing piece of a frame, the first step is to take a mould of an area which is identical to the missing part. Putty silicone rubber is the material used to take moulds, along with a catalyst which speeds up the hardening process.
Plaster is added to the outside of the moulds so that they don’t loose their shape whilst wood filler is added to the inside. The wood filler takes the shape of the mould so that when it dries, it can be removed from the mould and added to the frame to fill the missing section.
Before the new piece can be added to the frame, it has to be cut and sanded to size. In the missing section, wood filler is used to provide a platform for the new piece, so that it is level with the rest of the frame.
Wood filler is also used as a glue to attach the new piece, which is later weighed down to secure it firmly to the frame. The new piece fits perfectly with the frame.
Finally, the frame has to be cleaned thoroughly with cotton wool and water in preparation for it to be gilded.
This week, Elena demonstrated some of the restoration techniques used on sculptures. For the chipped areas of an artwork, layers of stucco are applied with various consistencies, whilst a mixture of wood powder and glue is used to fill holes in the surface of the sculpture.
All’antico Vinaio is a popular place to grab a sandwich in Florence and having had my first sandwich from there this week, I now know why. It was delicious!
I visited Pitti Palace over the weekend and was amazed by all the art on display. I was particularly struck by the decorative tabletops, an example of which can be seen in the photo.