Cleaning of the painting is very complicated and hazardous procedure
and is seldom a simple matter. Many tests must be done before the right
solvent or cleaning agent will be aproved.
Painting surface cleaning involves the use of cleaning agents/solvents
to remove surface dirt, old varnish and removal of retouches and
SURFACE DIRT REMOVAL
According to the nature of the dirt layer, the
surface of the painting can be treated either by
"dry cleaning" or by "wet cleaning".
In "dry cleaning" the dirt is removed
mechanically, in "wet cleaning" we use aqueous
Dramatic changes after surface wet cleaning.
German Landscape, 19thc.
Three stages of cleaning:
A - surface not cleaned
B - surface dirt removed
C - varnish removed
Cleaning of painting
W.H.Howe, 19thc, American
Varnish removal - is one of the most difficult
procedure in the process of painting
restoration. It brings risks to the paint layer,
and changes the appearence of the painting.
If the paint layer is very sensitive we can thinn
only the varnish layer or do the partial removal
in the areas where the paint is more stable.
Tests should show us if the complete varnish
removal is possible.
Complete varnish removal
"Madonna and Child" school of Tintoretto
Italian, 16th c.
Cigaret smoke deposit on glass which
protected 19th c. tempera painting shows
how badly smoke deposit can change
appearance of the artwork.
Removal of smoke and dirt layers is the first
stage of cleaning.