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Subject: Brief book review--Icons

Brief book review--Icons

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Friday, June 25, 1999
I recently received a copy of the conference papers of the
Conservation of Late Icons published by the Valamo Art Conservation
Institute.  The conference was held in June and October of 1997 in
various European locations.

I usually am not impressed by volumes of papers from conferences as
they are often uneven in focus or quality, but the organizers of the
Icon Conference and the editors of the Valamo Institute volume are
to be congratulated on the production of a book which holds together
as a text. What is of particular interest is the theme of discussing
earlier treatments in some detail and to present the rationale of
each proposed treatment as a full treatment design.  While the
essays vary in how developed these themes are, the individual
treatment issues are much more clearly assessed than is usually
found in most of the conservation literature.

Because of the nature of these objects a considerable effort is
expended by the authors to discuss the changes resulting from damage
and aging as well as retreatment in a thoughtful fashion.
Examination and scientific data are presented and integrated into
the construction of treatment design in a step by step traditional
case study method making the decision-making process of the
conservator apparent.  What is most appealing is the honesty of many
of the authors, like Birte Branner, who discuss the daunting
difficulties many icons present to even the experienced and trained
conservator.  An additional plus are the illustrations which are
lavish, allowing the full beauty of the objects to show through even
in their damaged states, but which are well chosen to represent and
identify features discussed in the text.

The arrival of this volume will be of particular utility for
conservators as the popularity of icons seems to be increasing
daily, and while I take a most conservative approach to their
treatment in my laboratory, we can hope that this volume will help
retard trends of over treatment so frequently seen.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:4
                   Distributed: Friday, June 25, 1999
                        Message Id: cdl-13-4-002
Received on Friday, 25 June, 1999

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