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MAURIZIO VITELLA

Restoration of a polymateric sculpture of the Immaculate Conception

  • Autori: Puglisi, C.; Reginella, M.; Sottile, S.; Bruno, M.; Vitella, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/300627

Abstract

This study focuses on the intervention methodologies applied on a polymateric polychrome sculpture of the Immaculate Conception (18th century), located inside the chapel of the Oratorio dei Falegnami in Palermo. The peculiarity of this artefact is the employment of two different supports, upon which both the ground and paint layers are laid: a wooden one, carved and prepared, for the execution of the anatomical parts, and a textile one, sewn, pinned on and stiffened with glue, for the garments. The damage found was mainly attributed to: reaction of the artwork’s materials to the environment, lack of ordinary maintenance, and previous interventions. On the textile support, cleaning was hindered by adhesion and cohesion problems in the preparation and the paint layers. The thick re-paintings had altered the original colours and stiffened the garments. Dimensional variations due to un-stretched fabric had produced deformations, lacerations and tearing, thus altering the original shapes. The critical part of the intervention was to properly consolidate the layers on the canvas support. The application of the adhesive Dispersion K52, based on an acrylic resin, was particularly effective on this organic artefact. This positive result was essential to: a) removing dust and grime, as well as the re-paintings; b) reshaping the fabric flaps; c) removing the plaster and fabric patches added in previous interventions; d) refilling and retouching the lacunae. Finally, a specially prepared varnish, with chemical-physical and aesthetic characteristics similar to those of the artefact, was applied. At the same time, the iconography and style of the sculpture were evaluated in order to identify its original context