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Botched Art Restoration

Botched Art Restoration

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Published by Scott M. Haskins

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Published by: Scott M. Haskins on Nov 08, 2012
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06/23/2013

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Damaged Art: Sometimes the best thing to do isnothing at all!
By Kelly Rose Almeida, Guest Blogger
Botched art restorations have happened through out the worldin private and public collections. A very public examplehappened this summer, when an 80 year old woman named Cecilia Giménezattempted to fix a fresco of her favorite depiction of Christ in a local church in Spain.She was so disturbed by its state of disrepair she thought she would lend a helpinghand and reapply a layer of paint and stucco to replicate the beauty she onceremembered. Sadly, she was not professionally trained, and the fresco was damagedalmost beyond repair. Although Cecilia Giménez attempted to reestablish the frescoin hopes of it looking like the artist 
’s
original portrait, sometimes the best intentionshave to worst consequences, especially when it comes to art. Sorrowfully, this is not an isolated case. CLICK HERE 
to see comments on the “restoration” by a professional
painting conservator.
The three vers
ions of the “ecce homo” fresco of Jesus. From left, the original version by Elías
García Martínez, a 19th-century painter; a deteriorated version of the fresco; the restoredversion by Cecilia Giménez, complements of the New York Times.
In Santa Barbara, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories,which does painting conservation for clients all over the USA, receives paintings that have been workedon by owners who wanted to see their favorite artwork repaired, but were illequipped to do it right. A recent botched job was a very nice and expensive
1890’s
painting of a landscape that had several tears in the canvas. The owner tried topatch up these rips using spare pieces of fabric
, animal glue, and painter’s tape.
However, once the patches were applied to the back of the canvas, the surroundingcanvas began to expand and contract at a different speed than the patched area,
 
causing cracks to form in the paint and producing flaking and large bulges. Here is aYouTube video that clearly shows the problem:
Click here… 
Mountain landscape with lake and Teepees
c. 1890. Front and back of a painting that was repaired by a patron, which caused more damage than good.Obviously the best solution to this issue is to bring your painting as soon as possibleto a local conservator. They have the proper tools and knowledge to revive yourpainting to its original state, retaining its value and beauty. If taking your painting toa conservator to be properly repaired is not in your budget, sometimes the best thing to do in order to save a painting that is already damaged is nothing at all. Thismay seem as if you are neglecting your art, but it may be the best ideaAt this point, all you can do now is properly store your painting until you are able tobring it to a professional. This will help your painting to prevent the damage fromprogressing. First thing is to find the ideal environment. Dramatic increases ordecreases in temperature can cause buckling in the canvas or cracking in the paint,which is what occurred in the example above. If your attic or basement is climatecontrolled, this would be the ultimate place to store your paintings. There is lessmovement, making it unlikely for your painting to be nicked by constant traffic. If not, a closet or spare room would be best.Also, make sure that when you store these paintings, that they are raised above theground to prevent water damage and mold. If you have more than one painting,separate each painting by using cardboard or any other sturdy material. This willprevent the corners of any given object form puncturing the canvases. Another wayto prevent this would be to put a foam backing on the paintings to avoid foreignobject from entering from the back, which will create flacking in the paint over time.After you create this environment, always check on your paintings a few times ayear. Make sure that nothing has shifted over time that may cause excess damage toyour paintings you have tried so hard to protect.Showing restraint will, in the long run, help your paintings the most.

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