Volume 16, Number 2, May 1994, pp.23-24
During the conservation of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican team has decided to "remove most of the 38 loincloths that, between the 16th and 18th centuries have been painted over the nudes in the Last Judgment", and leave intact the loincloths painted by Daniele da Volterra in 1546 which are considered by Vatican historian Fabrizio Mancinelli as being of both "historical and artistic value."
This extensively illustrated article presents information about the cleaning of this 43-ft x 47-ft fresco.
"...The Vatican team tested different solvents and lengths of application...choosing a gentle but time-consuming cleaning method: First they wash an area with deionized water followed by ammonium carbonate through layers of absorbent paper, which keep the solution in contact with the fresco. Twelve minutes later they remove the paper and wipe away the loosened dirt, finally rinsing the area with water."
Antonio da Sangallo's walk-in sized model (scale 1:30) for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, built during the 1540s and stored in St. Peter's, had been disintegrating "under attack from woodworms and dry rot." Italian restorers "sought to match the remaining wood, primarily fir and limewood...by haunting 16th-century churches undergoing repair."
Reports the condition and restoration of Thomas Crawford's bronze Statue of Freedom, the sculpture which has been in place atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building since 1863.
The bronze was "filled with pockets caused by vaporized alloys," which led to surface pitting. "Other problems requiring correction were rusting original iron elements, faulty patches, and heavy layers of disfiguring caulk on the seams."
For treatment, the sculpture was removed by helicopter. Work on the sculpture was performed by Fine Objects Conservation, Inc. Treatment "included the removal of corrosion, caulk, and interior paint; repairs to the bronze; repatination; and application of protective coatings." The project was funded by the United States Capitol Preservation Commission.
Institutions in Southern California, such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Southwest Museum, and the Norton Simon, suffered few damages after the Jan. 17th earthquake, due to precautionary efforts taken by museum staff.
In February, the Executive Committee of the Preservation of Library Materials Section of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, part of the American Library Association, passed a Resolution of Thanks Honoring Walter A. Henry for the lasting contributions he has made to libraries and to conservation and preservation internationally.
It characterized Walter as a "trailblazer in the field of conservation and preservation for initiating, developing, and moderating electronic services...", noting that he "established the Conservation DistList in 1987...a forum for sharing technical information, news, and queries and which has grown to include more than 850 subscribers from at least 13 countries" and "developed Conservation OnLine...".
Walter is a past column editor for WAAC Newsletter's Technical Exchange, and worked tirelessly on the recent project to get all WAAC Newsletter text available online through CoOL (Conservation OnLine).
Fire, faulty sprinkler systems, theft, lax security, structural sinking of the buildings, and no environmental controls as well as lack of funds indicate that the Hermitage is in very poor condition. Finnish and Dutch governments promise to help, but the problems appear to be more than just financial.
"Conservators then, rather like editors, do not occupy a neutral, ideologically innocent position that is legitimized by their scientific techniques. ...editors and conservators broker workable solutions between documents and new readers, between artifact and new generations of viewers, on the basis of criteria which enjoy a currency and persuasive power in their day." (p.70)
This essay is based on a paper given at the A. E. Housman Centenary Seminar, Monash University, Melbourne, 3 October 1992. Although its purpose is to examine "some of the practices and assumptions of modern art conservation for the--often refractory--light they throw on traditional editorial beliefs about the boundaries and constitution of the literary work," we in art conservation will find its perspective and insight about the art conservator in relation to the art object--stimulating thinking.
The following remarks are from David L. Vander Meulen, editor of Studies in Bibliography:
Studies in Bibliography is a serial publication of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, in which the study of books as material objects has been a steady theme over the life of the journal. In other issues, you will find theoretical articles about the material nature of artworks: ones such as "The Mode of Existence of Literary Works of Art: The Case of the Dunciad Variorum," by James Mclaverty, 37 (1984); or articles by G. Thomas Tanselle, including his "Reproductions and Scholarship" (42 ) and "A Description of Descriptive Bibliography" (45 ). These in turn might lead to other writings by Tanselle, a particularly clear thinker who happens currently to head a commission of the Modern Language Association on the preservation of printed artifacts. Some of those works include his Rationale of Textual Criticism (Univ. of Penn. Press, 1989), "Libraries, Museums, and Reading" (Raritan 12.1 [Summer 1992]), and "The Latest Forms of Book-Burning" (Common Knowledge 2.3 ).
It may also be of interest that over the years, Studies in Bibliography, under its founder Fredson Bowers, has been perhaps the chief venue for articles on what is known as analytical bibliography--the study of physical features of books (such as type, paper, and bindings) with the goal of determining their publication history.
Most research libraries will have a run of SB. The easiest and cheapest way to obtain personal copies is by subscription: $30/year, to Penelope P. Weiss, Executive Secretary, Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, Alderman Library, Charlottesville, VA 22903. The current subscription (for 1994) yields volume 48 (for 1995) of SB at the end of the year. Past volumes may be obtained for $35 each (plus postage) from the University Press of Virginia, Box 3608, University Station, Charlottesville, VA 22903.
A state supreme court justice has ruled that restorer Daniel Goldreyer has grounds for a libel suit against two major publications which published reports regarding Goldreyer's treatment, in 1987, of Barnett Newman's painting, Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue III in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
"Cloth covered book cradles can be made in many ways. The cradles described in this paper have an elegant look. They were designed after cradles that were on display at the Huntington Library, and used for an exhibit at Brigham Young University in the Harold B. Lee Library." Detailed step-by-step instructions, including drawings.
Relative Humidity on Storage and Use of Records"
by William K. Wilson, in Abbey Newsletter,, Volume 17, No. 7-8, December 1993, pp. 91-92, 94-95.
The object of this brief presentation is to show that there are advantages to storing records at lower relative humidity than usually recommended. For convenience, comparisons will be made between 45% RH and 30% RH.
The advantages to storage of records at 30% RH are as follows:
- Sorption of pollutants is less.
- Pollutants are less damaging to records.
- Photodegradation is less.
- Moisture content will change less.
- Stability is over 50% greater.
The remains of 25 Northern Cheyenne most of who were killed at the hands of U.S. soldiers in 1879 were returned to Montana soil by their descendants. The repatriation of the remains was done by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History as part of the ongoing compliance to the 1989 repatriation laws.
"Any warnings on the labels of your art materials should be your first alert as to whether the material is hazardous or not. At least this is true if the art materials are properly labeled, as required under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act of 1988."
Pawnbrokers for the Arts is a pawnshop that opened early last year in Beverly Hills. It bases its lending on accepting as collateral primarily well known artworks.
The Peruvian Sican culture (which preceded the better known Inca and Chimu cultures) was centered in Batan Grande in northern Peru and flourished from the 8th to the 14th centuries. The Sican people produced "enormous quantities" of precious metal artifacts, preserved through the centuries in graves. Sican tombs have been systematically and unceasingly vandalized for many decades; the authors counted more than 100,000 looters' holes and hundreds of bulldozer trenches from grave robbers on the Poma National Reserve.
Sican metalworking techniques are discussed and illustrated in this article.