This week, I’ve continued to restore the copy of Carpaccio’s painting. Once the bolo is dry and fish glue has been applied, the gold leaf can be added. The gold leaf is cut and placed on a suede pillow-like object whilst it’s being used. Pieces of gold leaf are cut before the aguazzo process to speed up the gilding. I had to use a piece of damp cotton wool to pick up and carefully place each piece of gold leaf on the surface.
Next, I rubbed the surface with a dry piece of cotton wool to remove any loose pieces of gold leaf. Some bits of gold leaf came off altogether, perhaps because the surface was too dry when I added the gold leaf. I painted these areas with gouache in a shade that matched the bolo and reapplied the gold leaf.
An agate stone is used to lightly scratch the surface, which polishes the gold leaf.
Finally, varnish is applied to the whole surface. Superfine touch-up varnish is applied in a thin, even layer across the surface of the painting, whilst a very dilute lacquer is applied to the areas with gold leaf.
The finished restoration!
I also helped Elena to finish restoring the frame that we had been working on for the past few weeks. We used the same gilding process on the frame as I did on Carpaccio’s painting.
I observed how Elena added the finishing touches to the wooden portrait sculpture. Elena scratched some areas of the surface and even flicked some darker coloured gouache to give it a more worn look. She stressed the importance of ensuring that the restoration work is coherent with the rest of the artwork, which includes making the restored areas appear slightly dirty or worn in line with the rest of the work.
On the first Sunday of every month, galleries and museums in Florence offer free tickets to all visitors. I went to the Uffizi, where I saw an example of Florentine mosaic by Cristofano Gaffurri. The piece dates from the early 17th Century and was based on a drawing by Jacopo Ligozzi. It was designed to be used as a tabletop and features a semiprecious stone inlay, with lapis lazuli, jasper and corsican marble. I love the bright colours and contrasting markings of the stones!
I went to the exhibition ‘Women in Balance’ at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, which documents how women’s lives changed in Italy between the years 1955 to 1965, during which time Wanda Miletti Ferragamo took over the Salvatore Ferragamo company from her late husband. The exhibition spotlights women in various industries as examples of the increasing importance women in the work force, such as Renata Bonfanti, whose designs for rugs and carpets are featured in the exhibition.
I also saw the ‘Fotografe!’ exhibition at Villa Bardini and Forte di Belvedere. The exhibition is fantastic and the view from Forte di Belvedere is amazing!